Retirement can be an exciting time in your older relative’s life, with years of hard work being rewarded by new-found freedom. However, it can understandably stressful and daunting for them when the time comes to choose a new place of residence to suit their retired lifestyle.
With plenty of living options available for the retired, it’s worth knowing about the different types in more detail, so you can discuss what might best with your older relatives. If both of you are ready to learn more about retirement properties, read on to find out about some of the options on offer.
Downsizing to a smaller house
Once the kids have flown the nest, large family homes can become difficult to maintain, so moving to a smaller and more manageable home is a sensible idea. However, be aware that some of these properties — particularly older builds — may lack the functional features necessary to support your older relatives should they become less mobile in the future.
When looking for a smaller bricks-and-mortar home, it’s important to assess their needs before settling on a property. If they have joint or muscle conditions, one-storey properties like bungalows will be ideal as they remove the danger of stairs. You might also want to think about the size of the garden, as those with restricted movement might not be able to maintain their lawn, plants and flowers.
Considering their safety and security in the property is key, so you might also want to find a location near the rest of the family, for everybody’s peace of mind.
A popular choice with the retired, park homes strike the perfect balance between sociable independent living and a secure environment. A movable one-storey unit, park home prices are generally cheaper than many other housing options, with prices for brand new models ranging from £70,000-£40,000, while pre-owned homes are available from around £50,000.
While there are some ongoing costs to consider, such as utility bills and pitch fees (which are paid to the park owner for renting their land), this will still work out cheaper than most other retirement options. Utility bills on the sites are set by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) against the current market rates, so your loved ones can’t be overcharged. If your older relatives are conscious about their income, it might also be worth discussing the option of joining a warranty scheme, like GoldShield’s 10-year warranty scheme, to give them peace of mind and stop inherent structural defects costing a fortune further down the line.
If you’re worried about your relatives getting lonely or bored, a park home can be the solution to your concerns. Pitched on an estate among other park home owners, there’s a strong sense of community, and there will be plenty of opportunities for them to make friends with like-minded individuals. These communities also tend to look out for each other, so if the commonly-used security measures — like CCTV, key fobs and visitor sign-in books — don’t make your relatives feel safe, their park neighbourhood watch certainly will!
Constructed especially with retired people in mind, these complexes will improve their quality of life while encouraging independence. On these sites, there is generally a mix of properties on offer including apartments, bungalows or houses, all designed to cater to everyone’s individual needs. Despite being part of a village, the option to have a self-contained space of their own may prove idyllic with your elders, however there are also villages with communal dining and leisure facilities to promote leading a sociable and active lifestyle.
These can be a particularly versatile option, allowing your relatives all the freedom they want, as well as providing them with the options of tailor-made care packages and 24-hour emergency call lines, for extra peace of mind. Additionally, a maintenance team will take care of all the cleaning and repairs, so you can rest assured that everything is being taken care of.
For more information on this type of residential living, take a look at Saga’s guide to living in a retirement village.
For many approaching retirement, it can be a dream come true to move abroad. However, there are many things worth discussing before they up and leave, particularly with regards to their finances. Although you can get your State Pension anywhere in the world, this may be frozen at a certain rate or calculated based on your cost-of-living.
It is also worth noting that your pension may be affected by the local exchange rate: your money might not go as far abroad. There are very few other financial benefits available to your relatives while living outside of the UK, depending on which country they choose, so ensure they contact the DWP or Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.
Despite these financial changes, moving abroad can be an exciting new adventure for them after years of hard work, so if they’re set on this, help them by researching suitable locations, housing options and assisting them with the legalities. The home and area they move to will still need to be accessible and accommodating for older people, especially with regards to any future mobility problems they may develop while living away from the family.
Retirement is a time for your loved ones to sit back and relax after years of hard work. Finding them the best living options to retire to will not only provide them with happiness and security, but it’ll also put your family’s mind at rest. Although all of the above are good options, there are plenty more to explore, so do your research!