Where will you live as you get older?

by | Health & Wellbeing, Longer Term

When I run pre-retirement seminars one area we discuss is around where to live as we age.

People will often talk about retiring to the seaside, or into a city. They want a change.

The sea-side as it seems peaceful and they have good memories of summer holidays. One note of caution is to look at the place in the winter, it will have a different feel and you will want to see what activities still take place in these months.

Making friends is important to. It could be involvement with the church, or volunteering.

More people are moving to cities. You can walk more, there is plenty going on and when people have brought up children in family homes in a rural location it makes a great change.

Do you need to downsize or right size?

Do you need less bedrooms, or do you need better size accommodation? This is one reason that many will move to brand new flats in the city. They get large open plan living rooms and no need to garden. You may still want extra bedrooms for when friends and family come to stay, or so that you could each have a room for your own hobby.

What about over 55s/60s accommodation

Most towns and cities have new accommodation being built aimed at an older age group. They can often come with an onsite manager/warden, shared laundry and communal rooms. Go up market and you may find gyms and swimming pools with perhaps a hairdresser/beauty parlour.

All sounds good. But this comes at a price with a monthly fee in addition to council tax and other utilities.

I often thought this was an excessive fee, but as I now live in a flat, and I pay 120 a month to the management company, it may not be too different to what I’m paying.

BUT I can sell my flat to anyone. If you have bought something aimed at an older age group, you will only be able to sell to a limited age range. These flats can be cheaper to buy, but also it means you are less likely to make as much money when you sell. But if it is to be your forever home this may be less important to your happiness now.

Some of these can be very expensive. Whilst there are plenty of 1 bed properties like this available for well under 150k, and often under 100k. Choose an upmarket new property and the price is 400k for a one bedroom flat in a central location. I’m sure the monthly fees will be high too.

How about co-housing?

I’ve been reading about this option for a few years now. Buying a large property with friends and in time to have a carer to work with you all.

I was promoted to write this article as I came across an article today https://www.notsalmon.com/2018/03/31/cohousing-with-friends/

Senior Cohousing is when you live in an intentional neighborhood surrounded by your friends and you share in things like the same dining area, library, fitness center, garden, TV room etc.

In this article the author, Karen Salmansohn, lists 5 benefits of this type of housing

  1. A True Community
  2. Lots of Privacy
  3. Less Money
  4. Lots of Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Perks
  5. Safety

What will you do?

Following the end of my marriage I chose to move into Cheltenham. I had considered Bristol but wanted a town small enough to get to know people. My flat is a 15-minute walk from the centre, on a leafy road and close to the park. I notice that many old people live around here so it’s likely I could stay here forever. Who knows how my life will change over the next 20 years, but co-housing is something I will consider?

I’ve also read many good things ofMary Feilding Guild. This is a residential home for active elderly people and one of its residents was the author, Diana Athill. It’s not cheap though although there are bursaries.

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.