Celebrating Later Living Success Stories.

I found exactly what I wanted and for the past 4 years have been happily settled! – Chalfont Dene, Audley retirement village resident.

We are all too familiar with the recent crisis that has unfolded in the care sector. As the nation braces for a second lockdown, the industry remains shadowed by the devasting impact of Covid-19. Yet behind the undeniable tragedy, which has affected so many, there have been some amazing success stories, and acts of resilience and hard work demonstrated within the later living space.

Later living remains a vital part of the wider community and, in a time of crisis, we want to showcase its potential to dramatically improve all aspects of an older person’s life. In doing so, we want to celebrate the hard work and success stories from the industry and our fellow later living providers.

Living experience.

The motivation for many when moving to a later living community is the option for low-maintenance living with tailored support options. This cost-effective option, without the hassle of everyday home maintenance, means time is freed up to enjoy day-to-day life. Having support options means homeowners can stay in their ‘real home’, without the hassle of moving again.

In-depth research by ProMatura International and ARCO, found that “93% of [their] residents felt there was a safety net in place if things went wrong”, as opposed to only 40% of those yet to buy. Moving in later life is undoubtedly a major change, but making a housing decision like this can provide older people with choice for now and the future. An Audley Villages resident added:

Remembering my father’s words, today I have somewhere appropriate to live, now and later.

Age-friendly housing.

Living in housing designed specifically for ageing in place, residents can feel safe with neighbours and staff nearby, whilst having the freedom and confidence to live independently in their own home. According to research 89% of retirement village residents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their community (ARCO and ProMatura).

Later living communities are often located close to town centres so those who live within feel connected to the wider community. Communities are also designed so residents have access to extra spaces and can enjoy communal areas. It is these elements that enabled Inspired Villages residents to remain positive during the pandemic, one added:

We go out every day for a walk around the grounds which are spacious, and beautiful! We have 52 acres to walk so it’s fantastic.

Lifestyle.

Later living offers a sense of community, a chance to make friends with like-minded people, and encourages an active lifestyle with opportunities to learn, socialise and contribute. Residents living in retirement properties are 2 to 5 times more likely to participate in social activities (ARCO).

I was doubtful two years ago about joining a community of all older people, but it has been a blessing. Everyone is friendly, we have plenty of ways of being sociable and we now have excellent support during this current situation.  – Inspired Villages homeowner.

During the pandemic, retirement communities worked extremely hard to implement infection control, but also to ensure residents did not feel lonely when self-isolating. As a result, Inspired Villages created a network for members to connect during the lockdown and 93% of owners were happy with Audley Village’s response to the pandemic:

Wellness.

Dramatic improvements in the personal wellbeing of those moving into later living are also notable in research findings. Compared with those who had not yet moved, residents in retirement communities were significantly more likely to have enjoyed life, been happy and were significantly less likely to have been lonely (70% vs. 48%).

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO said:

This [data] reinforces what our members have been reporting and seeing on the ground for years – that living in a retirement community is good for your health, well-being, and sense of security.

By maximising independence and increasing social interaction, later living can help to improve not only the health of older people but improve their overall quality of life.

Care.

During the initial lockdown, we expressed gratitude to those health workers risking their lives to help others with the weekly ‘Clap for our Carers’. The clapping may now have largely stopped, but their hard work doesn’t end there. Many of our later living providers have been getting great feedback to their response during the pandemic and beyond…

In an Audley Villages satisfaction survey,
• 96% said their carers are professional
• 99% said their carers are trustworthy
• 98% said their carers make them feel safe
• 99% said their carers are kind and friendly

One Audley Villages homeowner added:

My carers are absolutely wonderful. I could not fault the ones I have. They go above and beyond for me and are an absolute credit to Audley Care.

Older people were also found to be healthier and more active in specialist housing-with-care (ProMatura International and ARCO). “The evidence here is very strong and hard to argue with – Retirement communities are an excellent option for older people in the UK, benefiting their health, keeping them active and providing security,” adds Margaret Wylde, Chief Executive and founder of ProMatura.

Later living can provide the security of on-site staff, care, and support as needed – as well as the opportunity to stay with a partner, who may have different care needs.

Celebrating later living.

These success stories continue to inspire us at Guild Living. As a society, we must recognise the importance of later living in protecting and improving the lives of older people, and its potential to increase longevity and quality of life – even during a pandemic.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to share later living success stories on our social media channels. Keep an eye out for the Celebrate #LaterLiving posts.