Editorial: “never too late for the senior living sector”

The demand for retirement* in the UK is higher than it has ever been, and with an increasingly ageing population, it is increasingly uncertain if current supply levels will match this strong demand.

At present, it is most common for retirement living to be aimed more at those in worse health, with blocks of flats comprised of specially designed units with effectively hospital equipment integrated into them.

Contrast this to the USA, where they have retirement villages which are just that- villages where retired people live. They clearly have the facilities to accommodate those with ill health, but the others can simply live in a community with other like-minded and similarly aged people.

The scale of some of the villages located in the USA is colossal. The Villages in Florida has an area of 32.1 sq. miles, a similar area to the town of Brighton & Hove, as a contrast. It is open to the over 55’s and has neighbourhoods with individual characteristics, recreational facilities, leisure facilities, as well as being conveniently located between two coasts and three airports, all clearly aimed at those in the latter half of life, though not strictly when they can no longer live alone, as is more common in the UK.

The current demand experienced in the East of England for ‘later living’ homes could well mean that the UK’s retirements market could start to move towards the US model, whereby the ‘retirement village’ is as the name suggests – a place where retired people live, work and play.

A village in more ways than one.

* alternative names: senior or even, later living…

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