Richmond Villages have been designing, building and operating retirement villages in the UK for the past 17 years, and so has a real understanding of what people moving to a retirement village are looking for.
“Taking the decision to move from one’s family home and downsizing in retirement is a major step for anyone,” says Paddy Brice, managing director of Richmond Villages. “It really is one of those key stages in life, and not one to be taken lightly.
“But equally, and because it is a big step, it’s best not to leave it too late – the longer you leave it, the harder it is likely to be.”
There are a lot of different factors that need to be considered carefully, so this is intended as a helpful guide for anyone who might be about to embark on such a move.
Not in any order of priority:
Safety and security/peace of mind
Of course you will want somewhere you can live quietly and peacefully. The first decision is whether to be in an urban or rural location and as with any home, what the neighbourhood and environment are like is important.
The community – ‘people like us’
You know the type of people you like spending your time with, so finding a community with ‘people like us’ will be important. For many, moving from their old home and community could be a wrench, while for others the opportunity to meet new likeminded friends will be yet one more advantage to making the move.
Plenty to do and varied activities
Variety really is the spice of life, and after years of working, now is the time to enjoy your retirement. The community within the retirement village should be stimulating, both in terms of the other residents and the activities available to enjoy.
Ambiance and quality of the environment
First impressions count, and the minute you first walk into a retirement village you’ll instantly know whether it’s for you or not. The way the grounds are maintained, the look and feel of the reception and community areas, and the appointment of the apartments all need to be of the highest quality.
Accommodation, services & facilities
When choosing a retirement villages, you will see there’s a wide range of choice available and you will need to decide what is most important and best meets your needs. Each development is different and offers a choice of accommodation, while some also offer facilities such as a restaurant, café and wellness spa. Some will be run by a single manager but others will have over a hundred staff to provide individual care and housekeeping, as well as a wide range of events and activities.
Quality of care
While you or your spouse may not need care now, it is a possibility in the future. At that point, you will want to know that it is of the highest quality and close at hand 24/7, especially in an emergency. Having a care home offering nursing and dementia care at your chosen village means that should your health circumstances change you can remain within the village rather than having yet another move late in life. It also means you get to know your carers and avoids having to employ an outside domiciliary care agency.
If you are opting for an Assisted Living package which covers all your essential living costs - food, cleaning, maintenance, services etc, you’ll be able to budget accordingly and won’t have to worry about variable monthly outgoings.
Location & transportation
Estate agents say ‘location, location, location’ are the three most important things when choosing your new home, and you may prefer a development close to a town centre or one in a more tranquil, rural setting. If the latter, you will want to know that transportation is available to get you out and about, and that this is provided free and on a frequent basis.
Purchasing and retaining equity
The benefit of purchasing your new home is that you protect your capital, and will still have something to leave as an inheritance should you so wish.
Tempus fugit – don’t wait
There’s a lot to think about and plan, and this can inevitably take time, especially as you might need to consult with members of the family. It’s a big step, and one you’ll want to consider carefully. But the general advice from those who have moved to a retirement village such as Richmond Villages is ‘don’t wait’, and indeed, many would also add ‘I wish I’d done it earlier’.