Many people have a stereo-typical view of retirement living properties and have pre-conceived ideas about what living in such a development would actually be like. But have you ever visited one to see what is on offer, to look at the facilities, to see the effort that goes into the design and build of such properties and to experience, first-hand the type of community that these developments offer for their residents?
Well if you haven’t, I would urge you to pay them a visit: you might be pleasantly surprised. Many of the purpose-built retirement living communities have so much to offer: here are just a few of the things that you might not have considered.
Your property should cost you a lot less to run
This is because most new properties built today are extremely energy efficient; they have to be, to meet modern building regulations. So no more drafty doors and windows as all new properties will be double glazed. They will also have the most up to date insulating materials used in their construction to keep the heat in and the cold out as well as low-energy light fittings as standard. In fact, one retirement developer estimates that the cost of upgrading an older home to the same specification as their new build properties, would cost in the region of £45,000. All these features will help to keep your energy bills low, meaning more money available to enjoy life.
The property is built with an older person in mind
We all know that as we get older our physical mobility deteriorates, as does our sight, while our ability to do things we once did naturally declines. Modern retirement properties are built with the ageing body in mind, so, for example, most will have plugs and sockets at waist height rather than in the skirting board, making access much easier. Many properties will have wet rooms that can be accessed if you are in a wheelchair rather than traditional bathrooms, and if you use a mobility scooter there may well be a secure area where you can store it, as well as charge it up for future use.
Your safety and security is paramount
You are living in a community, so access to the main buildings will be monitored. Security will be higher than if you lived alone; you will always have neighbours to help or call should anything happen to you, and you can go away for protracted holidays or family visits, knowing that the property you have left behind remains safe and secure.
Maintenance is a thing of the past
One of the major benefits of a dedicated retirement property is that you won’t have any future maintenance to worry about: this is all done for you under your service charge. Likewise, the gardening. Many developments will also have people on hand that can help with your shopping or other day to day chores should you need them.
You can go really up market.
Some retirement villages do really offer it all to their residents. This could include top quality spa and gym facilities to help you stay fit and active, libraries and other community rooms where you can sit and socialise, or watch a film with others. There may also be bar and restaurant facilities where you can get a nutritious hot meal cooked for you if you don’t want to make one yourself. Many also have beauty or wellness salons where you can indulge and pamper yourself.
And there’s a sense of community.
You are living with like-minded people, people who, like you may want to socialise, to meet for coffee or to just chat and pass the time of day. There will also almost certainly be organised activities that you can take part in as well. You can participate as much, or as little as you like it really is up to you.
Many retirement communities will allow you to visit and sample what is available; you may even be able to stay a few days to see if it really is for you. If you’ve never been, but are curious about what’s on offer then make contact, it might just help you change your mind.
By Aidan Sawley