Posted on: 7 February, 2019

Retirement living: What are the choices?

Nowhere is the need for better information more critical than when it comes to housing for older people.

Nowhere is the need for better information more critical than when it comes to housing for older people.

The thought of ageing and deteriorating health can be a great worry and no-one wants to become a burden on their family, so downsizing and moving to ‘age appropriate housing’ has to be one of the options that you and your family consider.

But what are the options? What will be the impact of downsizing socially and financially? What types of retirement property are available?

Having access to clear, thorough and easily-accessible information can help relieve some, if not all, of these concerns. Unfortunately, the sector makes things more complicated by marketing retirement property under a plethora of names – retirement living, assisted living, sheltered housing, very sheltered housing and extra-care are all names given to different housing products, so it is not surprising if you find the market place confusing.

Some retirement property is no different than any other property except it is restricted to people over a given age and some properties of this type will also have an on-site manager, often part-time, who makes sure that the property is being maintained.

At the other end of the spectrum will be properties in developments with access to communal facilities such as a restaurant and that have full time on site staff, registered with the Care Quality Commission, who can help with personal care needs and respond to emergencies. This latter category is called ‘extra-care’ by the Department of Health but most companies market it under different names.

With constant changes in population and increased diversity within communities, it means that while people are living longer, they are less likely to be part of or near to a close-knit family who can provide support.

The easy access to communal facilities in an extra-care development encourages residents to meet other people, make friends and socialise, meaning there is a much lower probability of this occurring.

Of course, people are always reluctant to leave the home they raised their families in and where they shared happy memories. But the prize for downsizing into an extra-care residence is potentially a big one – there can be financial benefits, health benefits and social benefits.

Maintaining your independence for longer, having better access to the services you need and keeping control over your own life are all part of that prize too.

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