Benefits of retirement villages highlighted in new studies

The social care system is often said to be in crisis. Thousands of people each year sell their homes to pay for the care that the state is struggling to provide. Could retirement villages be the solution for some?

Research by York University has shown that retirement villages have a beneficial impact on maintaining and promoting health. In particular, the study highlighted reductions in falls, greater well-being because of less social isolation and the ability of villages to provide residents with better access to services such as blood pressure checking, flu jabs and exercise classes.

The attraction of retirement villages is also bound up with the fact that they offer the home-owning elderly a way of staying on the property ladder while getting all the care they need. People buy them and own the property as any leaseholder would.

Making the case for retirement villages - York University findings

There has been a growing policy emphasis on promoting independence for older people, offering them choices, and improving their quality of life. Retirement villages appear to serve current policy agendas very well. They offer purposefully designed barrier-free housing with its associated autonomy, a range of facilities and activities that are not care related which generate opportunities for informal and formal social activity and engagement, alongside a range of care and support services that can respond quickly and flexibly to a range of care needs over time. Drawing on previously published studies and data from an on-going comparative evaluation of seven different housing with care schemes for older people, research by Karen Croucher finds:

  • Evidence shows very clearly that older people see retirement villages as a positive choice. They are particularly attracted by the combination of independence and security, as well as opportunities for social engagement and an active life.
  • The larger size of retirement villages allows certain economies of scale and the development of facilities and care services that would not be viable in smaller developments.
  • Retirement villages play an important role in promoting health and well-being among older people. Flexible on-site care services can assist residents as their care needs change, and may promote early hospital discharge and reduce the need for hospital admission.
  • Retirement villages can help address the current shortage of homes suitable for later life, by developing housing that is purposefully designed to meet the current and future housing needs of older people, as well as releasing significant numbers of under-occupied properties for use by the wider community.

To read the report please click here 

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