Retirement Living – Home Away from Home
With luxury retirement homes popping up more frequently, we wanted to find out a little more about what motivates people to make that big move…so we asked some homeowners that had recently taken the plunge!
In recent years, there has been a growing trend for luxury retirement living, with people choosing to downsize from their family home. There are a myriad of reasons for this big move; perhaps your children have long own the nest, and the thought of having a smaller home to maintain is enticing, you might be on the edge of retirement and looking for a fresh start, or your partner might have recently passed away.
For June and Tony Mayweather (in their early seventies), the choice was heralded by visiting some friends who had recently moved into a retirement complex. June commented “I was struck rst and foremost by the facilities – from walking from the car to my friend’s door, she pointed out a wellness suite with a spa and gym, a small shop, a hairdresser and a lovely lounge. Getting older can mean the closing of certain circles of your life, but I just couldn’t believe how much was readily available on the doorstep! That feeling continued when we went into her home – the apartment was obviously smaller than her last home, but the proportions were lovely and it was just so sophisticated. I could immediately see myself living there.”
June highlighted one of the main attractions of those homes – they are already well maintained. There isn’t the worry of having to keep the garden tidy,
or keeping everything in working order because the maintenance is usually built into the model, as the developers realise people don’t want the responsibility as they get older. Managers and estate teams are on hand to even help provide domestic help, including household cleaning and even shopping!
Retirement accommodation is built with the older person in mind, so the homes are easily accessible by all. They are built for comfort and ease, such a plug sockets at waist height and even accessible places to charge mobility scooters! Not only that, there is often a support network available, so if you do need extra care or help with something, care packages can be arranged.
For Frank Birch (late seventies), the move was motivated in part by the passing of his wife, “It wasn’t until a few months after my wife Lesley passed away that I realised quite how isolated I’d become – rarely venturing out and actually losing touch with friends. It was my son who showed me round a development nearby his house and the sense of community really captured me. I was sad to leave the family home and all the memories there, but I carry them with me in my heart and have instead found a new lease of life thanks to the new friends I’ve made.”
Frank’s desire for company is an oft-sought part of this move – retirement villages allow the resident to become a part of a community of like-minded people, with a much wider social network available. This is especially useful if you are perhaps moving to a new area to be closer to your children, but also equally useful to make new friends and start new hobbies in your retirement. There are often plenty of regular events to take part in, so you will never be short of company!
Another huge incentive for moving to a retirement village is that the homes come with top safety and security measures, often including sensor lighting, alarms and camera entry system. This is particularly reassuring, both whilst you are in your home but also if you have popped out or go away. David and Sandy Lloyd (late sixties) found that their move was motivated by this desire for a ‘lock up and leave’ home. David said “Sandy and I had always anticipated using our early retirement to travel. We wanted longer trips away, but without the worry of security back home. It was anxiety brought on by a trip a few years earlier, where we’d returned home to a frozen pipe-induced flood. We can leave our new bungalow safe in the knowledge that the property is ticking over under careful watch.”
Stephen and his wife Susan took the big leap for another reason; “after Stephen su ered a quite debilitating fall, our two-up two-down house just presented
a nightmare for his mobility – he was even living in the sitting room for a time” said Sandy. “His short term memory was also a ected, so leaving him alone in the house became harder. I wanted to live somewhere that gave me the peace of mind that Stephen could exist happily in the space, his mobility issues considered and be safe even if he did wander out of the house. I wasn’t ready to annex my social life completely either and having everything close-by means I can indulge in my hobbies on a daily basis, a lot of the time with Stephen too – it’s been the best decision we’ve made in years.”
Di erent companies have di erent structures within the retirement complexes, so it is worth looking around a few to see which one best ts your needs. Some are energy efficient, some have guest suites, landscaped gardens, a house manager and even a homeowner’s lounge, where all residents on site can get together. Others offer several upscale care home options, including assisted living, nursing, residential and even dementia care.
We recommend making a list of what you are looking for both in terms of accommodation and facilities in your next dwelling before you begin your search for the next chapter!