Loneliness in older people has been dubbed a “hidden killer” after a recent study by ARCO (The Association of Retirement Community Operators). According to the Opinion Research survey, which involved 1030 people aged over 65, being lonely can increase the risk of death by 10%. The survey results suggest that more than 66 million hours are spent alone and many over 75s spend their entire weekend by themselves. It also revealed that 32% cited health worries as their main concern about getting old, with only 4% naming leaving the family home as the major worry.
Despite being worried about their declining health, over three quarters of those taking part have not made any preparation for their changing needs. For those who have, Retirement Communities are one of the options.
The chairman of ARCO, Jon Gooding said, “We are in the grip of a loneliness epidemic; people are fearful of their declining health; and yet appear to be unprepared for old age. Couple this with the fact that in 2033 there will be 3.3 million people over the age of 85 in the UK and it becomes clear that we face a momentous challenge. The emergence of this brand new generation, who want more and expect more from their retirement, calls for an entirely different approach to housing and care.”
“This survey shows that whilst people in England have legitimate concerns about getting older, they are not so worried about being able to stay in the family home. We know that the decision to ‘stay put’ is often associated with a complete lack of choice. We need to wake up as a country and ensure that people are aware of, and have access to, a variety of options for high quality housing, care and support in old age.”
Richmond Villages, a founder member of ARCO, which currently has five retirement villages, is one such retirement community that gives people that choice. Lynne Griffin, Village Manager of Richmond Nantwich has been at the Village since its launch 17 years ago and is not surprised by the findings of the ARCO survey. “I know from speaking to many different people who live in our Village that moving here has provided the opportunity to make friends and join new social circles. Whilst safety and security are obviously important factors, the companionship of having like-minded people around is reassuring both to the person who lives here and also to any family members, who may live quite a long distance away.”
Avice Hunt who moved into Richmond Nantwich nearly six years ago said “I had spoken to a lady whilst on holiday in Italy who had moved into a retirement village and I decided to find out more about them. Richmond Nantwich was the first one that I visited and I made my mind up there and then. Within six weeks I had moved in! I can honestly say that I have never regretted a moment. It is my home and I love everything about it as there is always someone to chat to or something to do. I looked after my mother when she was poorly and I was determined that my relatives would not have to do the same for me; Richmond Nantwich gives me the reassurances that I need whilst allowing me to carry on living my life to the full.”
Ruth Matts has also been at the Village since 2007 and has recently moved from a Village Apartment into one of the Assisted Living Suites. “My son and his wife moved into this area and I happened to see an article in a national newspaper about retirement villages. We came one evening at dusk to have a quick look around and were immediately struck at how beautiful the gardens were. We came back the next day and, like Avice, I fell in love with the Village. I recently decided to move into a Suite within the main building and I can honestly say that this is even better! I get to see people every day and I love the fact that everything is on hand. My sister looks forward to visiting me and sits in my armchair looking across the Bowling Green and says she feels like the Queen! I am so happy; it’s safe and secure and I wouldn’t live anywhere else”