Posted by Rachel Bashford
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Retirement is a time when people feel both excited and a little apprehensive about future choices. That’s why it’s a good idea to start researching and looking at realistic possibilities as soon as you can.
Recently, a retirement revolution has started to gain attention. Industry leaders are speaking out about the fact that retirement living is undoubtedly becoming a popular way of life for many.
Other countries, like USA, New Zealand and Australia are a bit ahead of us in this regard. They have been building senior living communities for a while and are often used as models for the UK’s blossoming market.
So, why are more people buying into retirement community living?
The Covid pandemic has highlighted choices older generations are now making about independent senior living. According to Google, weekly searches for ‘retirement villages’ have doubled in England over the past 5 years.
Covid has concentrated people’s minds a little more and led them to reassess and to find the best possible quality of life and enjoy retirement to the full.
This video from the Centre for Ageing Better shows how different lockdown experiences have affected people from their 50s upwards.
The latest studies reveal that the pandemic has made older people more certain about what they want for their future. Age UK’s report shows that loneliness, isolation and a lack of social activity have influenced people’s future choices.
Phrases like ‘no company’…’locked indoors’ and ‘all social activities and holidays ceased suddenly’ lay bare the hardship for the elderly throughout this difficult time.
Many seniors are expressing the fact that they want to live an independent life with easy social choices on their doorstep, matched with the option of support if they need it.
Property week’s study into life choices that people are now considering reveals a slant towards making the most of investment opportunities to take care of family, with the added focus on the design of retirement homes and villages. People are looking for a more modern take on living – open plan living, communal areas, social activities – so that they make the most of what’s on offer.
According to property specialist Knight Frank the private retirement market is set for a 50% growth by 2022. This market now accounts for around 54% of new UK building developments since the year 2000.
Appearing in an article for Care Home Professional UK, Tom Scaife (Head of Senior Living at Knight Frank) said: “Schemes in urban locations are becoming increasingly more popular as people seek lifestyle-led offerings.”
It’s a fact that retirement villages with assisted living are thriving in other countries. In the USA, New Zealand and Australia, rural areas needed communal spaces to care for older people as there weren’t larger communities to support them.
As a result, retirement villages that offer independent living with a strong social focus have boomed. These supply care options as and when the residents need them.
In the UK, 0.5% of people currently live in retirement communities, compared to nearly 6% in New Zealand or America. This figure is growing, as British people are demanding more market choice.
This Market Watch article demonstrates how American seniors desire resort-style amenities with the option of 24 hour care assistance if required.
More and more older people want close access to sports facilities, communal areas and technological solutions so that their lives are as free, independent and sociable as possible.
In New Zealand, property developers are looking to retirement communities as models for all types of construction, according to Stuff.co.nz. Developers are cottoning on to the idea that people need social and leisure options in close proximity to make life easier and more enjoyable.
So, what is happening here? Well, according to the BBC, there has been a real increase in people looking for an ‘active life’ plus ‘security’ matched with ‘independent living.’
Café bars, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers all feature widely in UK retirement communities.
UK developers are now planning more urban sites, highlighted in this report in the Guardian. Prospective residents are looking for the city lifestyle while having a safety net in place to give them peace of mind.
However, this is not the full story. People are looking for more than just lifestyle benefits and developers know this. That is why many companies are offering a raft of incentives so that older people feel more comfortable moving to retirement living communities.
It’s tricky to know where to start looking for the right retirement living incentives to suit your own individual situation. So, here’s an easy to follow guide to help you decide on the right package, if you’re thinking about retirement living.
Many retirement living companies offer a part exchange with your current property. This scheme can potentially take a lot of the stress out of moving as the effort of selling a property, communication with estate agents and the chance of the sale falling through are all highly emotive issues that most would like to avoid.
Some providers, such as McCarthy Stone, also give you two weeks’ access to your old home after it has sold, so that the physical move doesn’t have to be rushed into one day and can be done at a more leisurely pace.
According to Age Action Alliance, this is the area that causes the biggest headache for the majority of older people.
Just thinking about packing up and sorting through furniture, crockery and belongings can make us feel overwhelmed.
Retirement living developers, such as Adlington Retirement Living, deliver a free simple move service. This pairs consultations with professional move advisors like The Senior Move Partnership who can help with anything from changing over utility companies, organising removals to change of address cards.
Complimentary handyman services are often part of the package for many retirement villages to assist people while moving so that curtain poles and pictures can be fitted without any hassle on the day.
For many, this type of support eases moving day stress – the thought of being surrounded by lots of boxes with no help to unpack plays on people’s minds and this service gets rid of all that worry.
There is also a try before you buy option on some developments. A few nights stay with the full retirement community experience could be all you need to help you decide. Whilst brochures, reviews and websites can all give you a great sense of direction, nothing quite compares to the in-person experience.
Enterprise Retirement Living is one company that offers a 'try before you buy' service, giving you the opportunity to meet some of your potential neighbours and to join in with any events while you're there.
The beauty of many retirement communities is that more and more are recommending rental and part rental packages to make this lifestyle more achievable. Freedom of choice and a flexible approach increasingly seem to be the order of the day.
An example of this is Pegasus, a retirement community company that proposes adaptable solutions if you don’t have the budget for an outright purchase.
There are many benefits to this type of living arrangement, as you can have the security of your own home, with access to all the desirable facilities on site, without over-stretching your available budget.
Another great option is to consider sharing the weight of owning a property with the company. Retirement Villages have a scheme in place that means you can own 50% of the property with them which frees you to spend your money on your family, hobbies and leisure time.
One exciting feature you might find interesting is that often with new builds, you can have the first pick from apartments in a retirement village before they are constructed. You can then have a say in how your home will look from sample fixture and fittings, for a truly individual home that is just right for you.
If this is something that would appeal to you, take a look at Renaissance, with a range of retirement communities that offer this possibility.
Here’s an example of a happy Renaissance customer, revealing how they felt after reserving off plan.
Knowing that most seniors are keen to look after their money and make the best financial decisions, companies such as Retirement Security, work with residents to get the best deal on utilities so that your home is run efficiently.
Growing numbers of people are turning to Autumna for support and information when they want to find out more about retirement communities. Older people and their families are searching for reliable advice about what to look for and how to secure the best possible future retirement home.
Starting an internet search without really knowing what to look for is like searching for a needle in a haystack! But, as users quickly discover, the simple search tools on Autumna help people to rapidly find what they are looking for, with plenty of detail about each retirement community and what it has to offer.
Autumna has almost become a one-stop-shop for people interested in discovering more about retirement living. It covers all aspects of the market, from luxury retirement villages to more cost-effective choices. The directory clearly summarises the key features of each retirement development, and the lifestyle on offer.
If you’re searching for retirement homes, Autumna does the hard work in refining your choices and giving you the best, most relevant information.
You can either search through the easy-to-navigate, easy-to-compare directory yourself or get help from a real person. Just send an email request or book a free call back at a time that is convenient for you.
Autumna has gathered detailed information from a wide variety of sources, and consolidated it into a rich information resource that will help you, quickly and easily, find exactly what you need, when you need it.
And if you’re not sure what you need, this quick presentation by Autumna’s founder, Debbie Harris will give you some useful pointers.
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