Back in with the parents
Two generations of retirees under one roof
By 2050, the number of over85-year-olds in the UK will more than double to 3.4 million, and nearly one in five Britons are expected to live to see their 100th birthday. That’s good news for some, but for those in their late 50s and 60s, it could mean having to re-think retirement plans. Research by Carers UK has found that more than two million baby boomers will forego a comfortable retirement because they will need to care for their ageing parents.
Some retirement housebuilders have already noticed a small but growing number of families with two generations living in the same development. The younger can live a relatively worry-free life, knowing that their parents are only a few minutes away and, should the need arise, that help will be at hand.
“We have several sites where two generations are living under one roof,” says Geoff Bates of McCarthy and Stone. “Sometimes, it’s so the child can feel they are supporting their parent while also preparing for their own old age. In other cases, where the parent moved in first, the younger ones see the active, social lifestyle the parent has become accustomed to and think, ‘I want a slice of that too!’ ”
This is what brought mother and son Phyllis and Michael Kay to the same retirement development. Michael, 66, moved into Forest Court, in Chester, in 2014 after seeing how happily Phyllis, 92, had settled in a few years earlier. “When we started looking at retirement developments, I had just retired myself, so in the back of my mind I was also thinking about my own old age and where I could picture myself in a few years,” he says.
They chose Forest Court because of its location and modern flats. “Mum’s like a little whippet – she walks faster than me, and there’s nothing she enjoys more than the independence to go into town when she likes,” Michael says. “It also felt really secure with lots of like-minded people her age that she now calls her friends, and plenty to see and do with a leisure centre and swimming pool next door, beautiful gardens and the park opposite.”
When he realised his mother was having a better time than he was – “She was living in luxury surroundings with everything she could need on her doorstep, and she didn’t have to lift a finger” – Michael decided to move into a one-bedroom apartment on the first floor, above his mother’s. They are now able to spend more quality time together, and he still plays golf most days and goes out with friends.
There are no available properties at Forest Court, but at Heritage Place in Uxbridge, another McCarthy and Stone development, there are both independent and assisted living apartments, with prices starting at £424,905. Assisted living apartments at Bowes Lyon Court in Poundbury, Dorset, start from £245,000 (mccarthyandstone.co.uk).
All Richmond Villages developments have apartments for independent living, village suites for assisted living plus a care home. The village suites package includes all food (eaten at the restaurant or brought to your room), daily cleaning, laundry and utilities. Personal care packages are also available.
Robina Astley-Cooper, who is in her 90s, moved into the care home at Richmond Letcombe Regis in 2013. This year, her daughter Marie Wilson, 75, bought a village suite. “After several health scares, I felt I needed to be nearer family,” Wilson says. “I had been so impressed with the care given to the residents, plus my mother has been so happy here that when a suitable apartment came up for sale I had no doubts about putting in an offer.” At Letcombe Regis, which is in 36 acres, prices start at £245,000 for a village suite and from £475,000 for a two-bedroom apartment (richmondvillages.co.uk).
All Audley Retirement villages are suitable for both the young at heart and those in need of more support. “We have owners across all ages living at our villages, from their 50s to 90s,” says Audley chief executive Nick Sanderson. “Owners can enjoy the bars, spas, restaurants and pools – as well as flexible care when they need it.” At St Elphin’s Park in Matlock, Derbyshire, prices start at £235,000 (audleyretirement.co.uk).
Another development suitable for all stages of retirement is Wadswick Green near Corsham, Wiltshire, which has a spa and gym for those who like keeping fit, plus Pavilion Apartments, where additional care facilities and services can be organised. The 248 apartments, set in 25 acres, cost from £265,000 (wadswickgreen.co.uk).
And new developments are being built to cater for this widening group of retirement age people. Castle View in Windsor will open in 2018 and is already selling apartments off plan. Set in three acres, there will be 130 homes plus a care home, with residents being able to enjoy spectacular views of the town from the rooftop lounge, bar and garden. Prices start at £330,000 (castleviewwindsor.co.uk).
‘After health scares, I felt I needed to be nearer family’
Suitable for children: Phyllis Kay, 92, walks through Forest Court with her son Michael, 66
To life: Richmond Letcombe Regis, top; the Pavilion at Wadswick Green, above