Are retirement villages a good idea?
The UK is one of the world leaders when it comes to retirement living, but only 70,000 – that’s 0.5% of people aged 65 and over in the UK actually live in one. This number is far smaller than in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, where approximately 5-6% of their older population live in retirement villages!
However, ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators), the main body representing the retirement community sector in the UK, wants to change this. The vision is to house 250,000 older people in integrated retirement communities by 2030 – an ambitious target, but one we fully support.
ExtraCare (in a nutshell!)
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust currently operates 16 retirement communities and four retirement housing schemes. Each offers safe, secure and comfortable homes, all equipped and fully accessible to meet residents’ needs now and in the future. There’s flexible care and support for those who need it; and stimulating activities and leisure facilities to help residents stay healthy, active and independent for longer.
Each village and scheme is made up of a diverse community of residents ranging from 55 and upwards. Whilst residents have their own homes, they can get involved in the community through a wide range of clubs, activities and communal facilities. All of which can also be enjoyed by the local community, family and friends.
As a charity, we also rely on the support of thousands of valued volunteers who play a key part in helping us to make a difference to the lives of older people.
Our approach is simple. We want to broaden horizons, not limit them. We seek to foster independence, and help people stay active in body and mind for as long as possible.
What are the benefits of retirement village living?
There are obvious benefits to residents living in retirement villages but our recent research with Aston and Lancaster Universities has delved a little deeper into evaluating the positive healthy outcomes for our residents. The two studies which spanned 2012-15 and 2015-18 showed that older people who live in our villages are less anxious or depressed, exercise more, are less likely to fall, are never or hardly ever lonely and have improved memory.
But the pros don’t end there. The earlier study revealed a positive impact on the wider community, with cost savings to the NHS directly attributed to our residents who are utilising our on-site, award-winning well-being service, visiting their GPs less and spending less time in hospital. All of which equates to a saving of 38% to the national health system.
What age can you move into a retirement village?
The opportunity to apply for a retirement property at an ExtraCare village is primarily available to those over the age of 55, with no upper age limit.
Pam Walker, 78, from Hughenden Gardens Village agrees:
“All of this has made our lives so different; going to classes in the gym and meeting friends for a meal in the bistro. I can only say how grateful I am for the change of lifestyle moving to the village has given us both, we honestly have a new lease of life.”
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Her Majesty’s Final Seal of Approval
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