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Is retirement living for you?

At ExtraCare, we believe retirement is a whole new era and chapter of your life. A time to enjoy the things you haven’t always had time to do and prioritise yourself. Retirement living is on the rise in the UK, but what exactly does it mean?

Retirement living explained
ARCO is the main body representing the retirement living sector, with its members providing housing, hospitality, wellbeing services and care if it’s needed for the over 55’s. These are officially called Integrated Retirement Communities, but more commonly known as retirement villages or retirement communities.

Retirement living combines high quality housing options with tailored support services. They allow residents to own a property (or rent in some social housing cases) and to maintain their privacy and independence, but with the reassurance of 24-hour on-site staff, communal facilities, and optional care and support as needed, all within a vibrant community of like-minded people.

Health benefits of retirement living
We are very passionate about what we do, and we could sit here all day listing the benefits of retirement living, but our most significant key results from research conducted by Aston University do much of the talking for us. The report found strong evidence of significant systemic and health benefits such as:

• Reduced NHS costs by 38%
• Reduced unplanned hospital stays from 8-14 to 1-2 days
• 46% reduction in routine and regular GP visits
• 14.8% reduction in depressive symptoms in 18 months
• 23% decrease in anxiety symptoms
• Significant improvements in the level of exercise done by residents (75%)
• Increase in walking speed and a reduction of falls over the first two years
• The increase of frailty is delayed or reversed in residents
• 24% increase in autobiographical and 17% increase in memory recall tests
• 86.5% of residents were ‘never or hardly ever’ lonely

What is the cost of retirement living?
ExtraCare is a charity. Our principal aim is to ensure that we can offer our residents a truly rewarding lifestyle at a cost that is affordable and fair for all. We have a variety of beautiful one and two bed retirement properties available for sale, shared ownership, or for social rent to suit all financial situations.

In addition to your property purchase there are on-going monthly charges. These will vary according to your location.

Service Charge: Costs associated with maintaining the communal areas.

Management Charge: (this is included in rental costs for rented apartments, and will be a separate charge for purchase and shared ownership homes): Costs associated with the day-to-day maintenance of your home.

Amenity Charge: All heat, light, power, water and sewage services to each home.

Community Charge: (in some locations): A contribution towards the running of the Well-being Service, activity costs including staffing, a contribution towards the restaurant where applicable, 24-hour access to staff support in an emergency, and costs associated with running the communal areas.

Also, we recently sat down with our in-house Welfare Benefits Advisor Natalie, discussing how she can help find many residents financial relief. Read more here.

Care facilities
Right now, 80% of our residents do not receive any form of care, but dependent on individual circumstances we can support residents with assessed care needs when necessary. Residents can also access the Charity’s Wellbeing service which helps to monitor their health and lifestyle, ensuring early detection of potential health conditions.

A lady whose parents live at Shenley Wood Village says:
“My parents moved in around May time, and the exposure to the care they’ve received is absolutely amazing … My parents have grown into a socialised home and community life, and they’ve never been better. It’s taken pressure off the family too. 5 stars Shenley!!”

Safe and secure
In a recent survey (2022), we asked our sales team, ‘what is the main driving factor for people considering the move?’ when they speak to potential and current residents. The second most common answer, aside from loneliness being first, was safety and security.

The great thing about retirement living is that when you’re away, you can have complete confidence that your apartment and belongings could not be safer. Security and safety of our residents and staff is of the utmost importance to us.

The positive impacts of downsizing
Speaking to our residents a commonly mentioned downside is letting go of the family home and downsizing. Many are put off downsizing for lots of different reasons, so Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown asked 2000 people what holds them back from downsizing, and the most common answer was “I’m too attached to my home.”

Here’s some of the other findings:

• I’m too attached to my home: 38%
• I’ll have enough money without it: 30%
• Moving is too expensive: 17%
• I couldn’t free up cash to make it worthwhile: 11%
• I’d pay too much stamp duty: 5%
• I’m planning equity release instead: 4%
• Other: 16%

Not only does downsizing have personal benefits, but it also greatly impacts the community. As a result of downsizing by residents who moved into Pannel Croft and Hagley Road Village, at least 115 council properties have been released back into the community. Additionally, New Oscott, Pannel Croft and Hagley Road, enabled at least 457 homes to be released back into the community, the vast majority of which were privately owned.

Before you make any decisions, have a read here about why downsizing is a positive step forward.

The ExtraCare way
As a non-for-profit organisation, ExtraCare supports its unique independent living model through fundraising, advocacy, and research, with our concept bringing together five key factors:

• A safe, secure, comfortable new home, equipped and fully accessible to meet residents’ needs now and in the future
• Outstanding leisure and social facilities to help residents stay healthy, active and independent for longer
• Proactive health screening and well-being services providing help and advice to stay fit and well
• Flexible care and support, if and when residents are assessed as needing it, including day and night care in their own home by a dedicated on-site team
• Active encouragement of participation in community life through volunteering

An Earlsdon Park Village resident said:
“I love living here in the village, lots of entertainment if you want it. I have made many new friends. I have my dog with me, I feel safe and free from the usual household problems, life is good.”