I very much enjoyed my encounter with Radio 2’s lunchtime presenter Jeremy Vine on Thursday. I was invited onto his programme to discuss the retirement village concept in light of new research which suggests residents of such communities live longer and healthier.
Jeremy had created a spoof advert of the fictional Vine Manors where residents sip their cups of tea together. I was quick to put him straight; our residents are more likely to offer visitors a gin and tonic!
On a serious note Jeremy, and his other guest Howard Sinclair from the charity Broadway, questioned the benefits of living in a retirement community. There was some discussion around the phrase ‘retirement homes’, something most people associate with care or nursing homes. As I pointed out, these are a very valuable, and necessary, resource for people with a high level of dependency. But, while we’re all living longer, the huge majority of us will never need residential or nursing care. What we will need is an environment in which we can enjoy ourselves.
One of our residents, John De Morgan, from Castle Village in Berkhamsted joined in the discussion, making Jeremy laugh with his comment: “You are living in your own home with a large fully maintained 26 acre garden and free membership of a country club.”
I couldn’t put it better myself which goes to show, as I’ve always said, that our residents are our best ambassadors.
Howard did suggest retirement villages can be ‘artificial worlds’ and that, with older people living together, other communities miss out.
I would disagree. As I responded, as people live longer they need something that works for them. For more and more people that is a retirement village, something that is becoming a more mainstream option.
You can listen to the full piece on BBC iPlayer – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hjjyf