Hanging on to what we’ve got

Hanging on to what we’ve got

A very good article on housing in the May issue. From a working class perspective, and from my parents’ and in-law’s experiences, they wouldn’t have thought about selling up and moving into a retirement village. They lived and died in the surroundings that they worked for, and raised the children.

Maybe the retirement village philosophy is aimed at the more well-to-do, middle class, managerial and professional classes? I’ve seen some retirement villages – I know of one in Staffordshire, which is gated, very smart and quiet, but they all seem to me, to exude expense, wealth, isolation and wouldn’t suit a lot of people, who have grown with their surroundings, and have roots there.

Another factor in this predicament we are all in is the sheer weight of numbers coming into this small island country. It is largely unregulated, thanks to rules by the European Parliament, not the British government.

It’s part of our cultural heritage to live where we were born until we die. Yes, some people who have the money, determination and knowledge, emigrate in retirement, and a select few will take up the retirement village lifestyle, as the Americans have done already – go and live in Florida, near a golf course – but I don’t think it’s the British way by and large, up to now.

My wife and I are moving. She is 68 and in poor health, and I am 64, diabetic, driving licence revoked by the DVLA, thanks to European Parliament rules again. We are moving nearer to Manchester, where our adult children live, so we can be nearer to them, and may see them more often, but we are leaving a detached bungalow which is in very good shape, and moving to another detached bungalow, which needs a considerable amount of investment.

We haven’t thought about retirement homes at all. I doubt we could afford the living costs. We need to be nearer public transport links, in case my wife has to give up driving the car and nearer to shops too, as we are 7 miles away from those things right now. That’s our story. I’ll wager that there are a lot more out there like us. Hanging on to what we’ve got, and doing what we can, with it. Until death and taxes see us off!

Gerald Carter BSc by email