Retirement can be a family affair

Mike Pettet

Blog posted

17th October 2019 - By Mike Pettet Resident Blogger

One aspect of retirement living that I’ve only briefly mentioned up to now is family.  Do your siblings and sons and daughters have any concerns about you moving into a retirement community? Do you all want to be near each other?  Do they feel a duty to look out for you?

With modern communications there is no need to be close in terms of distance.  Our three daughters are scattered around the globe, having moved to where their chosen work dictated.  Despite the distances we keep in touch, and we have had many holidays with each of them.  We probably wouldn’t have seen so much of the world if they had all been closer.

But we remain a close family.  All three have seen where we are now living and are very happy for us.  They can see for themselves that there is a good social life, and that we have made many like-minded friends.  When we first floated the idea of moving into a retirement village, in our case Blagdon Village in Taunton, our eldest said “No way are my parents moving into an old people’s home.”  Once she had looked it up on-line and done her own research she was satisfied that it was right for us.  She was even more satisfied when she had come to stay with us for the first time, as were the other two.

Obviously, not every family is like us.  There are some who have always lived close to each other and see each other very often.  That is not to be decried because as humans we are all different.  For them to move some distance away would be a real wrench, so if a move to a retirement community is contemplated it would have to be one that is close by.

There are many retirement communities in one form or another throughout the country so there should be one fairly near to you, but you may well have to make compromises.  The nearest may not provide all the amenities that are provided by other management companies.  If you just want a smaller place to live there is plenty of choice but if you want full amenities and a good social life then you are more limited.  My wife and I were fortunate in that we could be totally flexible in our choice of location but we liked what we saw in Taunton, so here we are.

One aspect that cannot be stressed too highly is that you shouldn’t leave your move until late in life.  A place such as Blagdon Village was designed for the active 60s and over and provides the appropriate facilities.  There is also a good social life with regular activities and events, organised by the residents themselves, so that no one need feel lonely.  But there is one inescapable fact – we cannot avoid getting older.  If younger people don’t move in then any retirement community can become like an old people’s home.  Please don’t let this happen.  If you can see the benefit of living in a retirement community then act, sooner rather than later.  But, as always, the choice is entirely yours.


Mike Pettet

Mike Pettet

Resident at Blagdon Village

Mike and his wife Pauline have lived in Blagdon Village for 10 years. His early career was as an engineering officer in the RAF but he took early retirement and has since been a hotelier, DIY property developer, coastguard and freelance photo journalist. He has also been heavily involved in voluntary work and is currently the Blagdon Village Social Secretary and editor of the monthly Blagdon Bugle. He also runs the monthly quizzes and film evenings.