The choice is yours

How ex­actly does a re­tire­ment vil­lage dif­fer to re­tire­ment hous­ing?

Cotswold Life - - COTSWOLD HEALTH -

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

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

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

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