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Thinking of moving to a retirement village? Your questions answered...

Will you own your own home? Are there fees to pay if you sell? What are the benefits?

Will I own my own home?

Yes, you will. Unlike moving into a residential care home, which would probably involve selling your existing home to meet future costs, buying a house or apartment in a retirement village means the property is yours.

That means you can sell it on, earning the same levels of profit as anyone else if house prices have been rising, or retain it as an asset to pass on in your will.

But won’t I have to pay an exit fee if I sell?

Not everywhere, no. It is true that many retirement villages do charge exit fees, typically 10% of the purchase price. The exit fee will depend on how long a resident has lived in the village.

At Scalesceugh Hall & Villas in Cumbria, there is no exit charge if you sell your home, which means there will be no worry for the resident or burden on the family.

Any more hidden fees we should know about?

Again, it depends on which retirement village you are moving to. Typical costs might be service charges, care charges, parking fees and ground rent, but these vary considerably according to needs and location.

Retirement villages have a range of facilities and services built in. Residents will typically pay a maintenance fee for these. See an example here (where parking is also free and no profit is made on the maintenance fee)

You can expect your village to offer support services ranging from help with your shopping to walking your dog, to more personal care.

And you’ll often be situated in beautiful landscaped surroundings, with communal outdoor areas, which need to be well maintained.

Even with these costs, you may well find them a cheaper and more practical alternative to living in your existing home.

In many cases the family home has become too big for your needs in later years, and you are paying to heat a large house when there are only one or two people living there.

Maintaining a larger home and garden can also be daunting.

By moving into a new property in a retirement village, running costs are likely to be lower and help will always be available to deal with any maintenance issues.

So what are the other benefits of living in a retirement development?

Moving into a retirement village could give you a new lease of life, without many of the worries you may currently experience.

You can enjoy your later years, with a better quality of life in a wonderful home (maybe one you have co-designed), with peace of mind that many things are taken care of - and assistance is on hand if ever needed.

You will retain your independence and can come and go as you please. You are free to have friends and family stay and most villages also allow pets.

Even so, the social side of life here is important, with a wide range of groups, classes and events put on to cater for all interests.

You are free to take or leave these, but obviously taking part in at least some will help you develop new friendships and form a real community in the village.

Your retirement village will be a safe and secure place to live, which also provides peace of mind when you are away visiting family or friends, or on holiday (some villages will also ensure you return to a home full of fresh provisions).

How can village life adapt to my changing circumstances?

One of the joys of living in a retirement development is the flexibility it affords you. Retirement villages are designed to meet your needs as you get older. This can range from personal care services to co-designing your own home, including a lift, perhaps.

It is also worth remembering that relocating to a retirement village ensures that couples can remain living together, which isn’t always the case in a residential care home.

You may still have many years of active living ahead of you, especially if you have retired early, and equally, retirement villages are there to support your lifestyle, too.

What if I live alone?

You will really appreciate the community feel of a retirement village, and studies have shown that moving into this type of development can greatly improve your health and wellbeing.

Loneliness can of course have a negative effect on health, increasing the likelihood of depression and anxiety in particular.

Latest figures reveal that more than half of people over 75 in the UK live alone. Housing for people in later years needs to adapt to the fact that people are living longer and staying healthier for longer.

This is where retirement villages are taking the lead. A recent report revealed that the average person in a retirement village experiences half the amount of loneliness of someone living in the wider community. And more than four in five said they never or hardly ever felt isolated.


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