Gone are the days when the only options for elderly people were to struggle on fending for themselves in their own home then to move in with relatives, or into a care home, when they could no longer manage.
There are a growing number of choices for people thinking about how and where they will spend their later years. It may not be possible to downsize for financial, logistical or geographical reasons. Finding a smaller, suitable home in the right area is extremely difficult, as we have learnt from many of our readers.
One of the most popular choices is to move to a retirement village, which offers easy access to restaurants, pubs, cultural life and other opportunities for social interaction, this could be an alternative well worth exploring.
Points to consider
How easy is your location of choice to get to, especially for friends and family who wish to visit, and, just as importantly, its ease of access to other places?
Naturally everyone would like a comfortable retirement, but many are living on a fixed income and have to budget carefully. If that is the case different options are available – do you really need three bedrooms if there is guest accommodation on site?
Feeling secure is a top priority for everyone, but it becomes even more important as we get older. A city flat might be convenient, but it might not offer you the right level of security. Making sure you feel safe, while retaining your sense of freedom, is another important balance to strike.
Good roads, fast train links, bus routes and even access to an airport for trips overseas may all be important considerations. You may find that you have more money to spend on holidays once you’ve downsized.
Proximity to medical care
This doesn’t mean moving in next to a hospital, but many people get peace of mind knowing that help is on hand if it is needed. This might not be an issue now, but it could be an important one in ten or twenty years’ time. Many retirement villages are located to make sure there are good links to local doctors’ surgeries.
A happy retirement in later life consists of different factors, including a great place to live, contact with friends and family, and multiple opportunities to have fun and keep active in mind and body. Calculate the right combination of these ingredients, tailor it to your individual taste, and you’ll have the right solution for successful retirement living.
Some questions to consider
- What is the age limit (for example, some retirement villages have a lower age limit of 55 years, others say you need to be over 60 years old) and do both you and your partner (or both of your parents) qualify?
- If you have pets, can you take them with you?
- What are the service charges?
- Which bills are included and which aren’t?
- Is there space to keep a car if you have one?
- What facilities and activities are there on offer to residents?
- Is there a guest suite, or somewhere for friends and family to stay when they visit? How much does this cost?
A good example
I spoke with Cathy who has worked for the Methodist Homes Association, which is a not for profit organisation that provides 16,000 places for the over 60s across the country. They offer properties to purchase outright, shared equity homes and rental accommodation. There is the option for you to rent short term to test the waters if you are not yet ready to make a long-term commitment.
Cathy has been with the MHA working in Auchlochan Garden Village since it opened in 2009. She discussed her love of the job and the many options available to residents who chose to move to this site in Scotland. They have 235 homes available set in 50 acres of grounds including flats, bungalows and cottages, as well as a residential home for when extra care is needed. Once you are there you will never need to move again and you are welcome to have visitors: there is even a Bed and Breakfast where they can stay.
The extensive grounds are looked after by a team of gardeners and are open to the public so there is no feeling of living in isolation. I am very tempted to put my name down and if Cathy is representative of their staff I know I shall be made very welcome.