Moving at any age is a big decision but it becomes much harder as we get older and the choices on offer can sometimes be very overwhelming. Like any big decision I think it helps to break it down into manageable steps so here are:
5 things to consider when deciding on the right village for you.
You may still drive but it’s important to plan ahead to ensure you are not too isolated from essential services like shops and medical centers should you no longer hold a license. Make sure you are within easy distance of good public transport links and close enough to your family if you still want them to visit.
This is probably one of the hardest decisions to make and the area that may see you making the most compromises. It will be tempting to choose somewhere that is familiar to you, somewhere that will fit all your furniture. A large double garage to fit both your cars and a shed for all the tools, but you need to remember you are changing the way that you live and your property choice should reflect that.
Many couples aim to manage with just one vehicle and if you choose a village with good public transport links as mentioned previously this should be fairly easy to achieve.
In many villages, the maintenance and upkeep of the property is managed for you so you won’t need that shed or space for the lawnmower.
Be as ruthless as you can and try to keep an eye on your future needs, a third bedroom or study might be a nice thing to have now but will it just be another room that won’t get used as time goes on? Much the same as it is in your own home currently.
Don’t let the dining table dictate where you live. This may sound funny but I have met many people who discount a home because there is no room for their dining table or the fridge does not fit in the recess. Remember it’s all about compromise so you’ll need to decide what’s more important.
Give apartments a chance.
Apartments are becoming very popular for retirees and can be found in many villages around the country today. Quite often people are reluctant to look at them as a viable option for their next home because the idea of living in a tower block is just too different to what they are used to. In fact, apartments can offer security, low maintenance, vibrant communal spaces and good wheelchair access for people with low mobility, many of the things that people look for when choosing their next home.
3. Choose your village before you choose your home
This is really important. Villages, like suburbs, have a feel and a culture and it’s important that when you do move in you feel at home and comfortable in your new surroundings. Take the time to talk to its current residents, after all they may be your new neighbours. You could find out:
- How long have they been there?
- Are they happy?
- Who owns the village and what do the residents think of them?
- Are there many social activities to get involved in?
- Are the gardens and accommodation well maintained?
- What services and amenities are onsite?
Undertake a trial stay if possible. By spending a few days in the village you will really get a feel for whether you would like to live there and possibly notice more than you would do if you were just visiting for a tour.
4. Is there onsite care available if you need it?
As I have mentioned before, keep an eye on your future needs. You might not need it now but if you do in the future does the village have home care or residential care onsite and what sort of support do they provide residents as their care needs increase?
As you are finding out, moving is stressful so it’s important you minimize the need to do it again and that the village you choose can accommodate your health and lifestyle needs whatever they may be in the future.
5. Find out all the financial information before you sign up
There are many ways you can choose a home and move into a retirement village and, just like any property purchase, it’s important you understand all the financial information prior to signing up and just as importantly take the time to find out what will happen when you leave.
Just like any industry, there are good village operators and those that are not. Make sure you ask for copies of all the terms and conditions applicable and don’t hesitate to get legal advice if you feel it is necessary.