Thank you to Melanie Reid, one of The Times’ most capable and respected journalists. Her article at the weekend entitled “Growing old never used to worry me but my accident has changed all that” unbeknowingly captures the spirit of our own retirement villages.
While ‘gardeners mowing the lawns topless’ and ‘helping acquire illegal substances’ may be a step removed from our own experience, the essence of what Melanie aspires to in later life is actually already happening, right here under her nose in the UK!
We have 13 villages, or ‘communes’ as Melanie calls them, with our company looking after the ‘structuring and administration’, with 800 staff tending residents’ ‘every need and whim’.
The gestation period for people moving into our ‘communes’ can be many years, and exactly like Melanie it is very often an “event” such as a fall or an illness that makes them think about their futures and appreciate the need to make a decision. Time and time again our residents then say they wish they had made the decision earlier.
Social isolation will become a major issue arising from the rapidly increasing numbers of elderly and the government policy for care in the community. Our ‘communes’ resolve social isolation with discreet care in the background when needed, and the result is improved health, happiness and what we believe is a measurable increase in life expectancy.
We cannot however support Melanie’s proposals on euthanasia but have installed a number of dementia units where demented partners can be looked after without being too separated from their loved ones.
I would suggest Melanie visits one of our ‘communes’ as our guest to discover just how active, happy and ‘lawless’ the residents are.
If this blog has whetted your appetite to the retirement village/commune model, please get in touch, we will be delighted to hear from you and show you it firsthand.
We can’t provide a direct link to Melanie’s article as it sits behind The Times’ pay wall but it makes an entertaining read, as do many of her feature columns. You can find them through the following link.