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Retirement is often portrayed as a time of leisure, relaxation, and a chance to enjoy the fruits of your labour. However, whenever I discuss the retirement living sector outside of work, I am often faced with the misconceptions about retirement villages being exclusively for the wealthy, and the completely false narrative that only those with substantial financial resources can enjoy their golden years in a comfortable and secure environment. In reality, retirement villages are designed to cater to a wide range of individuals with diverse budgets and financial circumstances.

In this article we aim to dispel the myths and shed light on the affordability and accessibility they offer to retirees from all walks of life.

Hagley Road Village

Affordable housing options

Contrary to popular belief, purpose built complexes for the over 55’s do provide a variety of housing options to suit different budgets. While some upmarket and luxurious developments do exist, many retirement villages in the UK offer affordable housing choices that cater to retirees with various financial means. At ExtraCare particularly, these options include:

  • Purchase a home outright (homes are offered on a leasehold basis)
  • Purchase a shared ownership home (‘shared ownership’ is where you buy a proportion of your home, then pay rent, which is the ‘interest only’ element, on the unpurchased portion)
  • Rent a home through the council (unfortunately we do not offer private rental or sub letting on any of our properties)

Government assistance

In the UK and several other countries, the government has recognised the importance of affordable retirement housing and have implemented programmes to support retirees in accessing suitable accommodation. For example, at ExtraCare, we offer a proportion of social rented properties across our locations which are allocated jointly with the local authority. A local Council will have a policy on who qualifies for social housing and who gets priority for this in the area. Please contact your local Council directly to find out about eligibility.

In-house Advisors

Something exclusive to ExtraCare, is our amazing team of Welfare Benefits Advisors that come with a wealth of knowledge surrounding affordability and options for many different circumstances.

Natalie James, Welfare Benefits Leader says: “Our main aim is to assist our residents to maximise their income through identifying benefits and assistance they may be missing out on. We provide regular surgeries where residents can come and see us in a private and confidential setting, or 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.

People should claim what they are entitled to, many don’t like to make claims or find the claim forms too confusing, but it really does make a difference to their quality of life, especially with the cost of living increasing. In 2021/22, we supported residents in claiming £4.9m in benefits!”

Our Welfare Benefits team

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