Care Guides > Here's Everything You Need To Know About Retirement Living

Here's Everything You Need To Know About Retirement Living


As we get older it’s only natural for us to think about the future and how we can make our lives that little bit easier and stress free. For those who are approaching retirement, there are lots of retirement living options to open up a new approach to life.

From helping you with everyday chores to starting new friendships, retirement communities across the UK are constantly changing to better serve the needs of their residents. Research from Arco has also found that those living in retirement communities:

  1. Stay healthy for longer
  2. Less lonely
  3. Feel more secure
  4. Enjoy life more

If you’re searching for a retirement home, we’ve created this handy guide that shares all you need to know about independent living. Here you’ll find expert advice on what to look for in your new home, the different types of retirement options, and the biggest misconceptions about retirement living. All to make the search for your new home easier.

What is retirement living?

A retirement village

Retirement is what you make it and there are so many options to consider. Retirement living – whether that’s in a retirement home, community or village – can be a great milestone in your life.

The purpose of retirement living is to enjoy a range of accessible facilities in a home-from-home experience, whilst maintaining your independence. These communities allows you to focus on what you love in a safe, comfortable environment where you have support for everyday tasks, including gardening and home maintenance.

Retirement living options

As you research your retirement living options, you will find there are several types of retirement communities available to you. Here’s a list of the different retirement housing options for you to consider.

A retired lady at the back door of her house

Retirement villages

Often made up of a mixture of self-contained houses, bungalows and apartments, retirement villages offer a sense of community as you get older. They are a good option for anyone who lives independently and remains active but wants to live in a safe and secure environment with like-minded people.

Care options are often available within a retirement village, if you ever need them. For instance, most offer emergency call-out support to all residents, so you can feel secure knowing that there is always help available.

There are also different sizes of retirement living properties, so it’s important to decide what suits your needs. A retirement village is usually a large development with lots of on-site facilities, including wellness facilities, gardens, and resident lounges. Some homes are smaller in what they offer, but they’ll still have a variety of accessible facilities available. So, it’s best to compare different independent living properties before making your decision.

Assisted living

Assisted living and retirement living communities are very similar, however they offer different levels of care, services and features. So, it’s important to research each retirement housing option before deciding your next step.

If you’d like to retain your independence but receive support for everyday tasks (for example dressing, grooming and ensuring medication is taken correctly), assisted living could the best retirement option for you. Assisted living facilities offer more personalised care, whilst still in a residential, home-from-home setting. Staff are often available 24/7, so they can cater to any care needs and requirements.

Residential care homes

Residential care provides 24-hour personal support for those in later life in a care home setting. Whilst there are different care options available within retirement living communities, it’s often not as comprehensive as what’s offered in a care home setting.

Residential care homes offer a strong social environment, as residents will interact with those around them daily. There are also activities planned, for instance exercise classes and creative crafts.

If you’re interested in exploring residential care homes, our team of care experts can find the right home for you.

Retirement renting vs homeownership

There are several benefits of living in a retirement property – for instance, you can socialise with like-minded retirees, maintain independence, and live in a safe and secure setting. Once you’ve decided a retirement community is for you, it’s time to decide whether you’re going to rent or buy your new home.

Renting a retirement home offers flexibility and freedom, so you can easily change your location. Most of the time, when you rent a later living property, costs like ground rent and maintenance fees are often included.

Alternatively, buying a property in a retirement village means you will still own your home, so you will benefit from any future house-price growth. Understandably some people later in life start thinking about inheritance and their desire to leave some. Owning your retirement home may give you peace of mind that you’re taking care of your loved ones.

A lady playing cards at a retirement community

Biggest retirement living misconceptions

Myth 1: Moving into a retirement home means I’m giving up my independence

There is a common misconception that moving into a retirement living community means you’re losing your independence in later life. You’ll enjoy the privacy of your own home, spend your days as you wish, and you can choose the amount of support you need when you move into a retirement home.

Myth 2: There’s no privacy

When you live in a retirement living complex, it’s absolutely your choice how you spend your days! You can spend as little – or as much – time with other residents as you wish. You have the privacy of your own retirement apartment, house, or bungalow.

Privacy is respected by all members of staff and residents, who understand the desire for a non-intrusive home. It’s the best of both worlds – you can choose when you’d like to socialise, and when you need some quiet time.

Myth 3: They are expensive

Whilst the cost of retirement homes will vary across the UK, there are different options available to suit your budget. For instance, you may prefer to rent a retirement home, so you have the freedom of selling your home beforehand.

You will often pay a set fee for social events and upkeep and this figure won’t change. So, you will know exactly how much you’re paying each month when you move into a retirement home.

Myth 4: My family and friends won’t be able to stay in my new retirement home

Many senior living communities offer properties with two or three bedrooms, so you’ll have the privacy of your own home with the option of entertaining guests whenever you like. Don’t panic if you’ve only chosen a one-bedroom retirement living property, most communities will have a friends and family suite, so your loved ones can regularly stay.

Myth 5: I’ll have to give up my hobbies and passions

Retirement communities offer a variety of planned activities, including exercise classes and creative craft clubs, all aimed to boost your health and wellbeing. You are still able to pursue any passions – everything at a retirement living complex is up to you.

For those in later life that have moved into retirement living have found they’re more active and social, leaving them feeling happier and less isolated.

A retired man laughing and reading the paper

How to search for retirement living communities near me

Retirement communities have grown in popularity in recent years, so there’s lots of choice out there. However, searching for your new later life home can quickly feel overwhelming.

Retirement living is ideal for those looking for an easy way of life, with the option of extra support available. Buying or renting a retirement home is a huge decision, so here’s how to find your dream later life property.

The location of your new home is one of the most important things to consider. Look for a retirement home near you where there are good transport links, and it's close to your loved ones. Fortunately, retirement villages are typically close to local attractions within the area.

The level of care will vary between developments, so make sure you’ve researched this, and all your needs can be met. Also, check you’ve got a clear idea on the cost of your new retirement home from the outset. You should ask if there are any maintenance or service charge fees, and how much everything will cost you annually.

Frequently asked questions about retirement homes

How much do retirement homes cost?

The cost of your new retirement home will vary depending on location, size of the property, and any additional care you need.

Before choosing to move into a retirement community, you should find out about all the fees involved, as there will be management fees and sometimes ground rent to pay, in addition to your rental fee.

Do you have to be retired to live in a retirement village?

Our care experts are often asked what the ideal age is to move into a retirement home. It is based on an individual choice, but generally you can move into a community when you reach 55. People age in different ways and at their own pace, so our team of experts can help you find the right retirement community to suit your needs.

What activities are on offer?

There’s a real mix of activities and most retirement villages will regularly change the activities that are on offer for residents. The health and wellbeing of residents is a huge focus in every community, so you’ll find a variety of activities, all aimed to improve your quality of life. For instance, there will often be regular fitness classes available, as well as creative activities planned in each retirement community.

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