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What’s holding you back from downsizing in retirement?

Does the idea of downsizing concern you? Despite the abundance of benefits of moving to a retirement village, we often find when we chat to potential new residents, there are several factors that may be holding them back. In this blog post we’ve delved into some common concerns that may have prevented you from downsizing in retirement and provide insights on overcoming them.

What's holding you back from downsizing to a retirement village

Fearing change?

One of the primary reasons you may be hesitant to explore the option of a retirement village is the fear of change. Moving to a new environment, leaving behind familiar surroundings, and adjusting to a different lifestyle can be daunting. However, it’s essential to recognise that change is a natural part of life and can lead to new opportunities for growth and enrichment. Embracing change can open doors to new friendships, activities, and experiences that will inevitably then enhance your overall wellbeing in retirement.

Financial concerns?

Another significant barrier concern for some when to considering a retirement village is financial uncertainty., They and some may worry about the cost of living in a retirement community. It is a huge common misconception that things such as the initial cost of the property, monthly service charges, and potential healthcare expenses are only for the wealthy. While it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the financial implications, many retirement villages offer a range of pricing options and financial assistance programs to accommodate different budgets.

At ExtraCare, we pride ourselves not only on our unique model that offers outright purchase options, shared-ownership, and social rent, but our dedicated team of Welfare Benefits Advisors who supported residents in claiming £4.9m in previously unclaimed benefits in 2021/22!

We asked our Welfare Benefits Lead, Natalie James how she helps our residents before and after they move in:

“Our main aim is to assist our residents to maximise their income through identifying benefits and assistance they may be missing out on. Paul and I provide regular surgeries where residents can come and see us in a private and confidential setting. If they prefer, they can email us or call us instead. We work closely with our sales and housing departments providing affordability assessments before people move in, so they have a clear picture of what they are going to be left with after paying their charges. We then follow this through to assisting with the necessary claims upon move in. Through providing regular surgeries we can capture changes in circumstances to income or health/care needs and any associated benefits we can claim for residents. We also provide training to our staff so they can also assist us in capturing those that may need help.”

Even for those who don’t qualify for benefits, we are subsidising all resident weekly charges by £3.4 million in 2023/24 ensuring that living in one of our locations is affordable for as many people as possible. For each apartment residents will therefore pay a maximum of £20 total per week for gas, electricity and water combined.

Additionally, something we are definitely fairly unique for is our buy-back scheme. Every apartment that becomes vacant, either through a resident moving out or passing away, ExtraCare buys back that apartment within three months. The original purchase price of your home is guaranteed to be returned to you or your estate, minus a long term maintenance charge, an administration fee and any outstanding weekly charges.

Losing independence?

Independence is highly valued, especially as we age, and the prospect of moving to a retirement village may raise concerns about losing your freedom. However, retirement communities are designed to support independence, whilst offering assistance if needed and providing a sense of security. By embracing the social opportunities, recreational activities, and maintenance-free living, residents can maintain a sense of independence while enjoying the benefits of community life.

A family member of a Pannel Croft Village resident told us: 

“My mother lives at Pannel Croft and her move there has been life changing. Now having easy access to a whole community of new friends, quick and easy access to onsite activities and services has given her new independence.”

Reluctance to downsize?

Downsizing can be a challenging process, both emotionally and practically, and we get it. We understand why you may be reluctant to part with belongings accumulated over a lifetime and downsize from a spacious home that your family has grown up in and made so many memories in. However, downsizing or as we like to call it rightsizing can also be liberating, it can allow you to simplify your life, reduce clutter, and focus on what truly matters. We know that downsizing will mean different things to different people, so at ExtraCare we offer a range of housing options to suit all kinds of preferences and needs, from retirement bungalows, to cottages, to apartments.

Resident Peter shared recently how downsizing worked for him and his wife:

“To move from a 5-bed house to an apartment was quite an experience, our children helped us with downsizing and took most of the furniture. The move from a house where we had to do everything to an apartment where services were done for you was amazing and a big relief.”

Concerned about the misconceptions of retirement villages?

Misconceptions and stereotypes about retirement villages may also contribute to hesitancy, a misconception we hear time and time again is our communities being mistaken for care homes. However, modern retirement villages are in fact very different, they are vibrant, dynamic communities that offer a wealth of amenities, activities, and social opportunities .

In fact we’ll let you into a little known fact. At ExtraCare only 20% of our residents are actually in receipt of care.

Dependent on individual circumstances however we can support residents with significant assessed care needs, and offer access to our award-winning Wellbeing Service which helps monitor health and lifestyle, ensuring early detection of potential health conditions. One statistic we are very proud of is that those with dementia using our Dementia and Mental Wellbeing Service are 50% less likely to move into a care home!

Ultimately, by addressing common barriers such as fear of change, financial concerns, loss of independence, and misconceptions, you can approach rightsizing with confidence and optimism. Embracing the opportunities retirement villages have to offer can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding retirement journey, filled with new adventures, friendships, and memories.

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