Posted by Rachel Bashford

What Is Attracting Single Seniors To Retirement Communities?

Here’s a quick preview of what this article will cover:

  • What singles retirement options are there in the UK? How do these compare with other countries, like the USA?
  • Why are single sex retirement communities on the increase in the UK and abroad?
  • How can single seniors discover the best retirement living options for their lifestyle
Group of senior friends by the sea


What UK Singles Retirement Options Are Available?

According to government data published by the ONS (Office of National Statistics), there are over 12 million over-65s in the UK, with around 3 million living alone. That’s a quarter of seniors who don’t have the comfort of being with others at home.

To help us understand who is behind these numbers, Statista.com analysed the data to break down the population into age and gender. This 2020 data is revealing, as approximately 2.44 million females live by themselves - in comparison to 1.26 million males.

In truth, some older people still enjoy living alone; but for many, the pandemic has made them miss company and yearn for sociable living arrangements.

It can be tough when you’re senior and single – you don’t necessarily have much daily conversation and someone to do things with. So, it isn’t a surprise that many more single over-65s are looking into retirement living options and moving into these communities.

Number of individuals living alone jumps dramatically at 65 and over.

But, what singles retirement options are available in the UK? If you’re considering a dynamic, purposeful retirement or are hoping to transition to this in a few years’ time, then researching your choices as a single senior is a good idea.

Active independence is often the core vision for many retirement communities and living in one as a single person is no exception.

What do older people want from retirement housing? Well, a recent survey from the ILC (International Longevity Centre UK) picked up on what seniors are prioritising:

  • Plenty of communal and outdoor space
  • Retirement communities embedded in towns and cities
  • Services and experiences as part of the package
  • Affordable retirement housing
  • New technology built in to the lifestyle
  • Help with staying healthy


Highlighted in a recent article in The Express, the UK is beginning to catch up with other countries in developing purpose-built and modern retirement living homes for single over-65s. Developers like Rangeford Villages have cottoned on to the fact that older singles need to be catered for.

As a result, there are plenty of new communities, both rural and urban, that are ensuring single seniors have the freedom and positive experiences they are craving in their retirement years.

An example would be Wadswick Green in Wiltshire, offering luxury living with dedicated spaces and lifetstyle choices for singles.

This is not the only example of companies beginning to accommodate the wishes of single seniors. Eden Retirement Living is about to launch Eden Manor, its brand new luxury retirement complex, offering private spaces with accented focus on sociable and purposeful senior communities.

In addition, Churchill Retirement Living’s Wessex Lodge offers single seniors an exclusive boutique-style lifestyle in a central location in Bagshot, Surrey. This is coupled with easy access to all the priority amenities older people want as part of their retirement.

If we look abroad, we can see that some countries are definitely ahead of us in developing their single senior retirement communities. So, what stands out?

What Does International Single Retirement Living Offer?

It probably won’t surprise you that singles retirement villages are really well established in countries such as the USA. There are many examples of purpose-built singles-only communities that specifically address the needs of single seniors.

Seniorliving.org explores the range of opportunities in singles-only retirement living in regions across America, accentuating the focal points at the heart of many of these communities:

Many singles retirement communities have numerous built-in programmes to help encourage individuals to interact with others.

This helpful video explores what it’s like to be single in a retirement community in Florida, USA. To summarise, the single seniors who live in the village explain how they benefit from being part of a community of single older people and why they enjoy this lifestyle:

In Australia, there is a definite trend towards single over-65s living in retirement communities designed for them. The Australian website Downsizing.com/au found that:

About 61 percent of retirement living units are occupied by singles.

Apparently, according to this site, some savvy construction companies in Australia are already building a myriad of villages to cater for single older people so that they can have the lifestyle they are accustomed to in retirement.

If you’re single and want to live in a single-sex community, what is there on the market?

Are Single-Sex Retirement Communities On The Increase?

The answer is yes! There has been progress in this area for people to enjoy a post-55 lifestyle of their choice with people they feel comfortable and at home with. For some people, the ability to live in a like-minded community is a vital part of quality retirement.

An inventive group of women in North London have created their own retirement community, funded and organised entirely as a collective. Their innovative project is called New Ground and it’s a place where women can choose to live near people with similar interests.

This trend is still relatively new here, but the creation of such communities demonstrates that this is a new and enjoyable option for those seeking this style of living.

Single-Sex Retirement Homes Around The World

Australian construction companies are also investing in this type of retirement community. Summer 2021 saw work developing on a women-only complex near Sydney to be completed soon. IRT, an Australian firm, have said that they were “inundated” with requests to buy into this development.

The complex will have an emphasis on “the value of living within a supportive community”, encouraging “participation” in social events and “sustainable” living with a shared vegetable garden, according to IRT CEO Patrick Reid.

Residents will have the ability to live privately in individual apartments with access to communal events, hobbies and leisure amenities as part of the community package.

A key aspect of the impact of retirement living on quality of life has been evidenced in a 2017 study on the Whiteley Homes Trust community by CASS Business School (University of London).

This ground-breaking research proved that women living together as part of a “connected community” with a “shared sense of belonging” is integral to wellbeing and longevity.

In truth, it seems that living in a retirement community that suits your needs and makes you happy means that your retirement years are full of purpose, with the support you need as you need it.

Future UK retirement village residents may be considering this kind of environment for their senior years. It’s a fact that there isn’t much available at this moment in time for older people in the UK to live in single-sex retirement communities.

However, it does seem that the retirement sector has started to plan the creation of more homes that suit a wide variety of lifestyle choices so that, in the next few years, more capacity is going to be in the system for people to have a wealth of choice.

It can also be said that there are more options for women-only senior living than for men. This is probably an imbalance that the sector will start addressing with life expectancy lengthening and consumers demanding more variation in the market.

What Is The Best Way To Research Retirement Communities?

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.

Search Autumna for Retirment Living developments

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 video presentation by Autumna’s founder, Debbie Harris will give you some useful pointers.

How to Find Retirement Villages or Communities That Suit Your Budget and Needs

Searching for retirement living locations that meet your criteria?

Let Autumna help you. Complete this short form to let us know what features of your retirement living development are important to you, and we’ll send you a shortlist of places that meet your needs.

Alternatively email us here: info@autumna.co.uk or call our Advice Line on 01892 335 330. We’re here to chat from Monday to Sunday (8:30am - 5:30pm Mon-Fri, 10am - 5pm Sat, 10am - 4pm Sun).

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