Assisted Living

A Healthcare subtype; provides apartment-style accommodations where services focus on providing assistance with daily living activities. These facilities are designed to bridge the gap between independent living and nursing home care, and provide a higher level of services for their residents including meals, housekeeping, medication assistance, laundry, and regular checks-ins.

Retirement Property Choices

By Dominic Whiting

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to housing options generally, and the retirement property market is no exception, while today’s retirees are more affluent, savvy, healthy and independent than they have ever been. You can continue to live at home with the help of adaptation and support; you can move in with friends or family; house-hunt for a retirement apartment; look for a park home in the country, opt for a bolthole by the sea; or choose to stay closer to home in sheltered housing. You can rent; buy off-plan or re-sale; or build your own home. And if you need personal care you can retain your independence in assisted living accommodation - where domestic assistance is available, plus additional care and nursing is at hand, should the need arise.

Worldwide, the number of people 65 or older is increasing faster than ever before as we live longer, healthier lives. By 2050, one in five people will be over 60. In Europe, where people live longest on average, one out of every five people is already sixty-plus – and by 2020 a fifth of the UK population will be pensioners. While some people work on past the traditional retirement age, others are deciding to retire younger, taking advantage of recent rises in property values to enjoy a lifestyle change in the UK or abroad. Modern retirees range from 50 to 90, and the array of property choices available reflects their diversity. For example, early retirement may result in downsizing at 55 to a swish city apartment, while later in life a property with a house manager and extra security for complete peace of mind is more suitable.

During our lives we move home an average of seven times. Even so, we need to apply the same common sense when buying retirement housing in the UK or abroad, as we do when making other major purchases. As with any investment decision it is important to thoroughly assess the market and your options. There is no substitute for research, plenty of homework and, of course, legal advice is paramount. Making decisions requires a clearly defined set of objectives and an accurate assessment of your situation. Being honest about your budget and lifestyle aspirations – as well as a host of practical considerations – is key to achieving happiness when moving house in retirement. Involving friends and family in the planning process can be very helpful, giving you a fresh perspective and a different point of view. A large number of charity organisations also offer free help and advice on all manner of housing matters - from where key retirement developers are building in the UK and which local authorities have rural rentals, to where to find park home sites and assisted living facilities.

The retirement property sector has many specialist developers, building a variety of property types specifically for retirees. Some mainstream developers also have retirement divisions creating developments aimed at older buyers. Very few estate agents specialise in retirement property, but a growing number do handle re-sales. Most developers prefer to re-sell their own portfolio, so it is often better to contact them directly.

Dominic Whiting is a journalist and publisher of the Buying in Property Guides,

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