Moving into a retirement development can bring friendships and new beginnings
Posted on: 07 November 2017 by Peter Girling
A Demos report last year in conjunction with retirement house builder, McCarthy & Stone suggested that lessons about how to tackle loneliness can be learnt from the friendship and companionship found in retirement housing developments.
85% of retirees living in McCarthy & Stone’s developments said there is a good sense of community in their development, compared to just 51% of those aged 55+ in the wider community. Those who live in retirement housing also tend to report feeling much less lonely than their peers in mainstream housing. Socialising is also known to improve physical and mental wellbeing[ii] and people with good social connections are at less risk of an early death.[iii]
Many people choose to rent in retirement developments because they can retain their independence and at the same time join a welcoming community and have access to social activities.
Most developments have communal lounges and gardens where people meet and can enjoy cups of tea or coffee together and BBQs in the summer, plus many organise social events and outings, which can be a real lifeline, particularly for single people.
One Girling's resident who has benefitted from the social side of retirement living is 76 year old Widower Michael Allen, who moved into retirement development Magnolia Grange in Weston-Super-Mare in January 2016 after his wife had died.
Michael rents a lovely one-bedroom ground floor apartment on an assured ‘lifetime’ tenancy and has met many new friends. He keeps himself busy by volunteering at the hospice where his wife had been cared for, by playing bowls at his local club and getting involved in the many social activities hosted at the development.
He says, “I want to help out where I can and make people happy. I volunteer at the hospice once a week, and I am part of a buddy group for people who have been through a similar experience or who are widowed. When I first moved in I did find it quiet to begin with, but now I’ve got a lot of friends and enjoy a great social life here.”
“Recently those of us with a bus pass went for a cream tea in Sand Bay, we also have regular fish and chip suppers and we bought a BBQ in the summer and enjoyed regular BBQ get togethers. We also like to spend afternoons discussing the various events that are going on in the news.”
Michael says while not everyone wants to be sociable and some people are quite happy to stay in their apartments, this is a great environment for those that do.
He adds, “We all respect the fact that not everyone wants to get involved, but look out for each other and if we notice that someone is lonely or upset about anything, there is always a friendly face you can speak to. I feel very privileged to live here. Not only are the facilities fantastic, but everyone has been very welcoming and the apartment is comfortable,”
To find out more about Girlings Retirement Rentals visit the website www.girlings.co.uk.