Contrary to belief, you do not have to be retired to live in a retirement village.
In fact over the last 12 months we have seen an increase in enquires from self-employed people or those in full or part-time work who have no plans to give up their day job any time soon.
There are examples of working residents across nearly all of our 14 villages and we could not be more delighted. As advocates for active and independent living these semi-retirees are flying the flag for those looking for a change in lifestyle but who still want to keep one foot firmly in their workplace.
Despite retiring from his job in international re-insurance 15 years ago, Michael Jackson missed the daily routine – and at the age of 75 still heads off to work two days a week.
Michael volunteers on The Bluebell Railway, just four miles from his home at Charters Village.
“I missed getting up every day and travelling to work. I’ve always been interested in railways so it made sense to work as a volunteer – it gives me a great deal of pleasure,” explained the part-time station master.
“My daily duties include checking the station is safe and secure, observing activities on the lines, selling and checking tickets and ensuring all is in order, even down to the cleanliness of the toilets.”
“I also occasionally deliver presentations about the history of the rail line to groups like the WI,” he added.
“It is wonderful to live and work in this part of the country. The Bluebell Railway was the first preserved standard gauge passenger line in the country opening in 1960. It currently operates along a 12 mile stretch of what was, until closed by British Railways in 1958, a secondary line form London to the south coast,” he added.
However, Michael is not free from work rules and regulations. He still undergoes regular medicals to carry out his voluntary work on the railway at Kingscote Station.
“Not that it is an issue. I keep myself in good health by enjoying long walks with my wife and we are both regulars at the village yoga sessions,“ added Michael.
For many people, moving into a retirement village is a logical step in slowing life down but not so in the case of Jenny Pardington who lives in Cedars village whilst continuing to go out to work.
Jenny, 72, is Personal Assistant and Researcher to Lord Dubs of Battersea in the House of Lords. She joins thousands of other commuters jostling their way by bus and tube to get to their desks in Central London each day.
Jenny’s only concession to a more sedate work/life balance is the decision to cut back to two days a week.
She loves her job and has no intention of stopping any time soon. Her duties include keeping track of Lord Dubs’ hectic diary, dealing with his correspondence and researching issues he is pursuing. These require strict attention to detail and a large degree of organisation, which she says all help to keep her mind active.
“I love my job, it gives me a sense of purpose and whilst my boss, who’s 82, is still more than capable of carrying out his job then so am I!” says Jenny from her Cedars Village home in Chorleywood.
When the time comes to retire completely she knows there is plenty to keep her busy within the village. But that’s for another day – retirement is definitely not on the cards for now, says Jenny!