Are you looking for a retirement home?
Perhaps you’re at the stage where you want a little more security, would like to downsize or be surrounded by people of a similar age.
Whatever your individual circumstances, retirement homes and villages can provide a safe, comfortable option for those in later life.
However, sometimes the research and decision-making process can be overwhelming, so let’s look at your options.
Retirement homes are specifically designed for those over 55 to be safe and comfortable in later life.
They’re often modern constructions, intended to be easily accessible, efficient and ergonomic.
Rather than being isolated, these properties are frequently situated in villages, custom-built developments which are dedicated to bringing retirees together in a supportive community.
Often the residents of retirement homes will have access to extra facilities and services within the complex, improving social connection and quality of life.
As we get older, our priorities shift.
Sometimes we just want a change of scenery, while at other times, looking for a retirement home becomes a necessity.
Let’s investigate some common reasons for choosing this option:
Frequently in later life, we may experience the bereavement of a spouse or partner. As well as being extremely traumatic, over the longer term, this can lead to significant feelings of loneliness.
Like bereavement, there are many other causes of isolation. If you’re a retiree, perhaps your children have moved away or your family aren’t living closeby.
For those who were very career or family-driven, retirement can leave a slight void. Such people might not be lonely, but instead, have more spare time to dedicate to new hobbies, activities and events.
Due to conditions like arthritis and balance issues, it’s easy to let our activity levels wane as we get older. In such cases, having access to extra help can be beneficial.
Unfortunately, health issues might start to affect us in later life. GP appointments, hospital admissions or operations may result, which require extra advice, reassurance or support.
Often when children have flown the nest and we enter our golden years, we’re left with a house that’s too big for our needs. Sometimes the maintenance of such a property can prove too much, with increasing time spent just keeping houses clean and gardens tidy. Those searching for retirement houses are often looking to reduce clutter and downsize, freeing up time to spend on activities they enjoy.
So, we’ve seen why people commonly choose retirement homes. What are the benefits you can expect when you make the move?
As we age, it’s sensible to prepare. Perhaps you experience mobility problems and want a newer, more ergonomic living space. Maybe you’re struggling with the upkeep of a big house and garden and want to entrust such work to an on-site maintenance team. If you frequently go on holiday, perhaps you want to leave home safe in the knowledge that you live in a secure development. Retirement homes provide all of this and more.
Many people are drawn to living in retirement villages because they can provide you with a self-contained living space. While they may form part of a larger development, having the independence to come and go as you please is particularly appealing. Also, many schemes allow you to get creative and redecorate your living space or add personal touches to your accommodation.
If we’re geographically distant from friends and family, having somewhere for them to stay when they visit is essential. If your retirement property isn’t large enough to receive visitors, many developments offer access to a guest room for a small charge.
We’re currently in the grip of a worldwide loneliness epidemic, with social isolation taking a particular toll on those in later life. Retirement homes can provide easy access to a supportive community of like-minded retirees, with people on hand to step in when you need help as you forge social links within the development.
Life becomes a lot easier when we remove friction. Many retirement complexes now offer a range of on-site facilities and services to improve residents’ quality of life. This could include a hairdresser, health suite, gym or even spa! Homes might be situated around a restaurant, bar or bistro to improve the community feel of the village. There may also be a library, conservatory or communal gardens for that all-important nature fix.
Mirthy specialises in social clubs and activities for those in later life and we try to utilise communal spaces in retirement villages for our events. This might include quizzes, local talks, book clubs or film nights. Such social engagements are popular, with residents and the local community meeting to pursue a common interest in a supportive, friendly environment. Some retirement living schemes also offer a social committee if you’d like to help organise events and activities for fellow residents.
Retirement villages often have an on-site manager, responsible for the day-to-day running of the complex and catering to residents’ needs. Having someone to call upon when living alone can afford great peace of mind for residents and families alike. Many providers also provide cover for 24-hour emergency calls.
Safety is often a big factor for those seeking to make the move into a retirement complex. Modern construction of these properties includes the latest fire alarms and doors, while there is normally a call monitoring system installed in case of emergency. Secure door entry systems ensure that only residents and guests have access to the development.
Retirement homes tend to offer a range of services, from gardening to window cleaning and maintenance. If home repairs are required, there’s access to information and support from an on-site manager. Some retirement living schemes also offer 24-hour domestic and practical support from trained staff.
Our pets are frequently equal members of our family and for this reason, many retirement living options allow animals to move in with their owners. So if you have a furry friend you want to take with you, there’s often no issue if you provide advance notice to the housing development.
Sheltered accommodation is the umbrella term for those who might require additional help and support with activities of daily living, but wish to remain as independent as possible.
When designed specifically for those in later life, it’s often referred to as retirement housing.
Although retirement housing isn’t always part of a development, they’re usually situated within a larger complex or village, offering facilities and services which may be more high-end in terms of luxury and cost.
So, for retirees who are reasonably comfortable with their activities of daily living, retirement villages can be the ideal option.
However, these developments may also provide access to care services when necessary.
Retirement homes come in all shapes and sizes and are available as studio flats, bungalows or one, two and three-bedroom residences.
What you want depends on your lifestyle and needs, but often people making the move into retirement living want to downsize from their existing house when they make the switch.
Unless you need the extra room for guest accommodation, family visits, or want to share the accommodation with friends, smaller residences can mean cheaper rent, less cleaning and lower heating costs.
Smaller residences still offer their own kitchen, bathroom and usually ample storage space.
Before searching for a retirement home, it’s a good idea to list out your preferences.
Do you want to live in a certain area or have access to specific facilities and services?
Putting some thought in ahead of time will allow you to ask informed questions and ultimately make a better decision to suit your lifestyle.
Once you have a list, a simple Google search of “retirement homes + location” should help uncover some options.
Alternatively, there’s a popular website called HousingCare which allows you to search by retirement community.
Retirement homes may be rented or purchased on a leasehold basis and sometimes, sheltered accommodation is provided by local councils and housing associations for those with limited resources.
Ultimately, your decision will be dictated by your means and personal preference.
Renting can offer more flexibility or allow you to maintain ownership of an existing house while buying your own home can afford more security and longer-term investment.
If you need more information about sheltered housing options, either contact your local council for more information or visit the Gov.uk website here.
The cost of retirement living can vary, depending on the development location, facilities included and whether any additional support is required.
Choosing to rent or buy will clearly affect how much you pay and will require consultation with individual developments to obtain quotes.
Further to the cost of the property, you’ll also be expected to a pay a service charge, which covers extras such as building maintenance, gardening and the upkeep of communal areas, in addition to the site manager and emergency call service.
Some bills may be included in your payment to the retirement housing provider, but you’ll likely have to pay other charges, such as council tax and electricity separately.
Retirement homes are a wonderful option for many.
Not only do they provide modern construction and contemporary living spaces, but also offer access to facilities and services which are intentionally designed to improve residents’ quality of life.
Furthermore, you can gain access to a community of like-minded residents, seeking to make the most of their retirement.
If you want to learn more about getting involved in Mirthy’s social activities and events with our retirement home partners, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.