In the UK, retirement housing is far less popular than in other countries. In fact, according to research, only 0.6% of people over 65 live in retirement communities here, as opposed to the 6.1% in the US, 5.4% in New Zealand, and 4.9% in Australia.
However, there are many benefits to modern retirement housing. Not only does it offer safety, security, and the opportunity to foster a sense of community later in life, it can also allow you to ‘right-size’ while remaining on the property ladder.
With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with the Lifestory Group (who, under their Pegasus and Renaissance brands, build and manage beautiful homes and create thriving communities), to bring you seven benefits of retirement living.
We’ll explore what a retirement community actually is and use the example of Lifestory’s Cranleigh Coves development in Surrey to bring these many benefits to life.
What is a retirement community?
Many experts believe that in the UK there are lots of misconceptions surrounding retirement communities – and that this is why they’re a far less popular option for those aged 65 and over compared to other countries.
The main problem seems to be that many people believe retirement communities are the same as care homes – though, this isn’t the case.
A care home (also known as ‘residential home’ or ‘nursing home’) is a residential facility that not only offers accommodation, but provides 24hr care and support for homeowners with specific care needs. For example, helping those with mobility issues carry out everyday activities like washing and eating.
In a care home, patients will often have a bedroom with en-suite facilities, and food preparation, home cleaning, and maintenance are provided too.
A retirement community, however, is a collection of houses and/or apartments that form a safe and secure, age-exclusive community. In a retirement community, homeowners rent or own their homes.
Retirement communities allow people to live independently while having a sociable and friendly community right on their doorstep. Depending on the specific development, retirement living can also offer a range of optional support services, amenities, and facilities.
Cranleigh Coves development in Surrey, for example, consists of a number of one and two-bedroom apartments designed to offer a sociable and independent lifestyle right in the heart of one of England’s largest villages.
Described as friendly, ambient, and homely, residents can enjoy everything from live music, theatre, and exhibitions at the nearby Arts Centre, stay active at the Sports and Social Club, and enjoy the great outdoors in Winterfold Forest next door.
7 benefits of retirement living
1. You’ll find a strong sense of community
We all go through times in our lives when we feel lonely or a little out of place – and this can be especially true when we retire.
During our career, especially in a role that we enjoy and value, many of us do a great deal of our socialising on the job with colleagues and/or clients. We might also develop a sense of community with our colleagues through shared experiences, and being united in a single purpose.
So, when we retire, it’s only natural to miss this sense of belonging and to look for other ways to replace it.
Retirement living offers a great opportunity to do this, because you’ll have a community of like-minded people to connect and socialise with right on your doorstep. In fact, this survey found that only 11% of the non-retirement community homeowners participated in social events, compared to 54% of those living in retirement communities.
For the Lifestory Group, this sense of community is a top priority, so homes are designed to encourage homeowners to socialise with one another, and regular social events are held too. For example, coffee and cake mornings, game nights, and trips to the theatre.
Some Pegasus developments include cafés and restaurants on-site that serve meals, snacks, and drinks, and are perfect for socialising.
Many developments also have social kitchens where you can cook, eat, and socialise with friends and neighbours – as well as guest suites for when loved ones want to stay the night. Cranleigh Coves, for example, has a shared lounge, social kitchen, and outdoor seating area designed for residents to socialise. The development also plans to host upcoming outdoor coffee mornings, prosecco evenings, and a range of exciting community events.
2. You’ll feel safe and secure
The sense of safety and security that comes from living in a retirement community is a huge plus for many people.
Lifestory Group’s retirement living communities are fitted with great deal of safety and security features, including gated car parks, key-fob entry systems, and video doorbells can be found in every apartment. Burglar alarms are also installed for extra safety and peace of mind.
Plus, each home is equipped with emergency call systems in shower rooms and living areas. So, if there’s an emergency, medical or otherwise, you’ll be able to contact the emergency services straight away.
To find out more about safety and security features in Lifestory retirement communities, why not take a look at their website?
3. You can remain flexible
Some people might worry that by moving into a retirement community, they’ll be making a long-term commitment that they can’t turn back on. However, there’s often a great deal of flexibility on offer to suit people’s ever-changing needs.
For example, if you rent a property with the Lifestory Group, you can choose a long-term tenancy or a rolling contract. Or, if you’re interested in owning your own home, they also offer the chance to rent before you buy, so you can be safe in the knowledge that big decisions don’t have to be set in stone.
4. You’ll have the opportunity to move somewhere new
More and more people are choosing to fill the latter half of their lives with exciting new opportunities and adventures – and for many, this can involve moving somewhere new.
With fewer career and family commitments, retirement can be a time to create the life you’ve always wanted..
For example, perhaps you’ve always dreamt of being by the sea, or imagine yourself moving out into the countryside. If so, then moving to a retirement community can help make the move stress-free.
With communities like Renaissance and Pegasus, you don’t have to feel uneasy about setting up life somewhere new because there’ll be a warm and welcoming community waiting for you when you get there.
Plus, you won’t even have to worry about moving all of your possessions and belongings. The Lifestory Group provides complimentary moving services, so you can look forward to your new adventure without any worries.
5. You’ll have the chance to ‘right-size’
Moving into a retirement community can also give you the opportunity to downsize or, as it’s often called, ‘rightsize’.
When you no longer need your home office and/or your children grow up and leave home, any extra space (and the cleaning and maintenance that comes along with it!) can become a bit of an unnecessary chore.
But by moving into a retirement community, you’ll be able to find a home that’s just the right size for you and save money, time, and stress.
And because retirement living encourages a low-maintenance lifestyle, all communal areas and outdoor spaces are cleaned and maintained by the development, so you’ll have; extra time to spend doing the things you love.
6. You can lead a healthier lifestyle
Living as part of a community doesn’t only prevent feelings of loneliness and help you to feel more safe and secure, it’s also incredibly beneficial for our physical and mental wellbeing.
Science has shown that socialising, however much or little, can improve memory and decrease someone’s chance of developing a neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Being social can also help to relieve symptoms of depression and lead us to happier, healthier, and maybe even longer lives.
With Pegasus, you’ll also have access to a wide range of wellness facilities, from a hydrotherapy pool and a gym to a herbal sauna and a steam room. Why not take a look at the Pegasus website to find out more about their wellness facilities?
Exercise-related activities are also frequently organised at both Renaissance and Pegasus homes, to encourage people to stay active. For example, at Cranleigh Coves, the nearby Sports and Social Club organises bowls and petanque competitions.
Interestingly, research has shown that nearly twice as many retirement community homeowners participated in regular exercise than non-retirement community homeowners of the same age.
7. You’ll receive plenty of support
Although retirement communities present a chance for homeowners to live their lives freely and independently, you’ll also receive plenty of support – particularly from the Lifestory Group themselves.
One of the main things that attracts so many people to Renaissance and Pegasus homes is the high-quality service provided by their dedicated Lifehosts.
Each Lifestory retirement community has a Lifehost who’s on-hand Monday to Friday to assist you with anything you might need – for example, any problems you might have with your home, restaurant recommendations, or even just a coffee and chat. Lifehosts help to create warm, friendly, and inclusive communities, as well as making sure that all homes are safe and secure.
The Lifestory Group also offers wraparound support from the moment you decide to move in. We’ve already mentioned their moving services, which include decluttering your old place and planning where your furniture will sit in your new home.
But with the Lifestory EasyBuy part-exchange service, you can leave the sale of your old house entirely up to them too – making sure this new and exciting step in your life is as stress-free as possible.
For an extra charge, you can also access bespoke care services if and when you need them; for example, if your mobility is limited after a stay at the hospital. So whether you need help with preparing meals, completing household chores, or running errands, you’ll have flexible assistance on hand.
Moving into a retirement community comes with a lot of great benefits, including having an age-exclusive community on your doorstep, high-quality safety and security, and support when you need it.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Lifestory Group, then why not visit their website, where you can see available homes and prices?
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