The choice is yours
How exactly does a retirement village differ to retirement housing?
It can be confusing looking at the different types of retirement home options and understanding the difference between retirement village and traditional retirement housing. Many people think they are the same, but there are a myriad of differences and it’s vital to understand what each form offers in terms of facilities and services before making an investment.
Firstly, what are the decisions you should consider? There are the typical house-purchasing decisions, such as living close to a town or in a rural community; one-bedroom, twobedroom; apartment, or house, etc. But with a retirement property you should be thinking not only what you need now but what you might need in the future. So consider, for example, what would happen if you can no longer drive or you need support? Does the development have a transport service and are there support services provided by staff who are on-site 24 hours a day? What facilities are available if mobility becomes a factor? Ideally you would want a restaurant available as a minimum. Is it a social community and are there specialist staff who organise events and activities based on the interests of the residents?
Retirement housing is generally for older people over the ages of 55 or 60 and it is normally sold on a leasehold basis of 99 or 125 years. Facilities and amenities found at this type of retirement home are quite limited; most have a communal lounge and possibly a manager who will be available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. There is usually an emergency call system, which will go through to a call centre not to anyone on-site. Retirement housing is quite often in a block of flats and is designed to suit the elderly, but facilities and amenities are definitely limited.
Retirement villages are becoming more and more popular as a purchasing option and as the term ‘village’ implies, it is a retirement community, which is suited to people who enjoy social activities and enjoy being part of a community. There are a whole host of facilities, including lounges, restaurants and bars and there may also be a wellness spa and activity room. Again, there will be an emergency call system but here the calls will go to staff who are on-site 24 hours a day and who have access to your retirement apartment if needed. Retirement villages will provide a scheduled transport service so, should you have to stop driving, you aren’t reliant on friends or family. There’s also the reassurance of a dedicated care team who can provide bespoke support packages if required. But one of the most important provisions is the dedicated events and activities team, which generates a great social life centred on the interests of the people living there.
The table below left shows the differences in facilities between retirement villages and traditional retirement housing:
If you feel a retirement village would provide the lifestyle that you are looking for, then someone like Richmond Villages, who have a number of retirement villages in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire area, could be the answer. They provide all the facilities listed above and typically there can be up to 150 full- and part-time staff in various roles including care, hospitality, housekeeping, administration, activity organisers, fitness instructors, beauticians, drivers and maintenance. In fact, think of a hotel, plus extra staff!
So, in conclusion, there is a big difference between a retirement village and retirement housing, but it is important that you consider both and decide which is going to be best for you.
Richmond Village Witney, Oxfordshire