An Age Old Mega-Trend

Columnists
Leon Fear
Leon Fear runs Fear Group, a global strategic research and investment business

It’s a well known fact that people are generally living longer than at any time in history thanks to advances in medical science and the overall health of people today, despite the growth of certain health issues such as diabetes.

There are currently over 11.8 million people over the age of 65 in Britain, with this figure projected to exceed 16 million by 2035. The population of people over 75 is expected to double during the next 30 years.

This brings new challenges to the property industry, as although the need for good quality retirement homes has always been there, it is now exacerbated as people are increasingly living well into their late 80’s and 90’s.

Whilst traditionally care homes have been operated predominantly by local authorities, registered providers and charitable organisations, as standards have generally improved in all areas of housing, this is particularly true when it comes to private care homes and the growth in popularity of retirement villages.

More often than not luxury retirement villages offer residents the opportunity of moving in to their new home whilst they perhaps need just some basic assistance and care, but whilst retaining their independence for as long as possible, and moving in to another part of the ‘village’ as their needs require.

This gives comfort and longevity for someone to really make the place their own and in which to make new friends during old age, and crucially to help avoid the loneliness which so sadly effects so many old people (and of course many younger people too).

All local authorities have the growing issue on their hands of how to provide quality housing for older generations, as well as housing for first time buyers.

Retirement villages can provide part of the solution to both aspects as people often move in to them at a far younger age than they might a traditional care or nursing home, therefore freeing up housing stock for younger generations, as most people who move in to a retirement village fund it by selling their home.

Removing obstacles for developers who are offering to provide this type of development will not only benefit the older generation, but also the younger generation too as well as enabling a significant number of jobs to be created across a range of skill sets.

The best retirement villages in my opinion don’t ring fence themselves from the local community but include them, for example by having cafés and community halls open to everyone not only creates facilities for the wider population but gives those in their retirement an interest and engagement rather than isolating them from the community they are likely to have been part of for most of their lives.

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