Friday, 18 January 2019

The benefits of a new home in a retirement community

Over 55 couple in retirement village
‘Retirement villages’, ‘retirement communities’ or ‘age exclusive developments’ are a relatively new idea in the UK. Ten years ago you would have struggled to find one (OK – maybe ten years you weren’t looking for one – just take our word for it!).

But maybe you are looking for one now. If not for yourself, then for family members.

In our experience (and we’ve researched this topic pretty thoroughly) it is often the children of retirement village residents who first suggest the idea to them. When your parents are starting to ‘get on a bit’ and are rattling around in the old family home which is far too big for their needs, it’s maybe time to think of making a move. Especially a move that brings them nearer to you.

And there are lots of good reasons for making the move to a retirement village.

Typically, these are communities of from 50 homes up to 200. They may be apartments, bungalows or small houses. All are designed and built to require minimum maintenance and there are usually some shared services – such as a cleaner or gardener, for example, to look after communal areas.

What retirement villages are not is ‘care homes’. Residents live active and independent lives in their own homes. They are not ‘elderly’. That’s why the age limit for these developments is sometimes as low as 50 years. But 55 or 60 is more typical.

They are designed to appeal to healthy and active people – whether retired or still working – who are ‘downsizing’.

There can be a strong financial incentive to make a move to one of these communities. Some people can sell their current home for considerably more than the cost of a new one in a retirement village, allowing them to bank a tidy sum of money.

But it is the community aspects of these developments which are their key benefit. Residents make their home among a group of like-minded neighbours. Strong new friendships are often formed.

And research shows that this has all sorts of benefits. A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation called ‘Making the case for retirement villages’ found that:

Retirement villages promote health and well-being. Increased opportunities for social interaction and engagement can reduce the experience of social isolation, with consequent benefits to health, well-being, and quality of life.
There is often a wide range of different resident-led interest groups in retirement villages and there is a pool of people from which to draw friends and companions.
The villages show ‘solidarity in ageing’, with people making organised responses to difficulties being experienced by individuals. For example, neighbours collectively organise assistance with shopping, meal preparation, visiting and so forth for people coming out of hospital. And the community as a whole gets engaged in things such as neighbourhood watch schemes.
Living in a purpose-built, barrier-free, efficiently-heated environment removes many of the difficulties and dangers of living in inappropriate accommodation, in particular the risk of falls.

The report also shows that residents see retirement villages as a positive choice. They are particularly attracted by the combination of independence and security, as well as opportunities for social engagement and an active life.

So, if it is time for Mum and Dad (or you) to start thinking about a home better suited to their needs, why not consider somewhere like The Croft at Baston?