Retirement shouldn’t mean retiring from the finer things in life – it ought to mean finally having a chance to enjoy them. Now, thanks to the very latest in retirement developments, this is more possible than ever.
Whether you want to sunbathe on the balcony of your luxury penthouse suite, keep your body in tip-top condition with the latest wellness treatments or take a morning dip in a specially created outdoor swimming pond, there are so many options to consider when securing five-star accommodation for your golden years.
If you’d like to try the lifestyle before you buy, one place to start could be LifeCare Residences’ Battersea Place in London, which has an open day on July 3.
There are apartments and penthouses to buy, and you can book short stays in the development’s Albert Suites
There are apartments and penthouses to buy, and you can book short stays in the development’s Albert Suites – 30 specially designed apartments providing tailored, dignified and discreet care. One recent customer is Carolyn Eadie, pictured below, a retired headhunter and the wife of Michael Portillo. She booked in to recuperate after a hip operation.
‘I stayed for two weeks because my husband was working overseas and I needed that extra support to recover,’ she says. ‘There wasn’t any point in trying to go home on my own, only to grapple with the stairs, so I thought I’d check in for a short stay at Albert Suites. ‘After three days I was up and walking with one stick because I was determined – but also because I had the right medical support and followed sensible advice. We built up my exercises steadily, initially using the on-site gym and working up to walking around Battersea Park.’
If more permanent living arrangements are required, there is a more rock ’n’ roll retirement on offer in the penthouse of Retirement Villages’ development in Cranleigh, Surrey. Dubbed the Elmbridge Suite, this spacious £780,000 second-floor apartment has a kitchen decked out in Italian quartz and views over landscaped grounds. The master bathroom has a double-ended bath, walk-in shower and his-and-hers basins. On-site facilities include a surgery, visiting GP and 24-hour emergency service,
Other options are provided by Pegasus Life – which focuses particularly on health and wellness – at locations across Britain
Other options are provided by Pegasus Life – which focuses particularly on health and wellness – at locations across Britain.
Best for the body is Chapelwood in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Centred around a hydrotherapy pool and therapy area, it includes a state-of-the-art gym. All apartments are in keeping with the area’s Victorian heritage, with prices from £367,950.
Nestled on the edge of Horsell Common in Surrey, Pegasus Life’s Moor’s Nook overlooks the local cricket ground. There are 34 one- and two-bedroom apartments priced from £391,500.
For breathtaking coastal views, it would be worth exploring a move to Hortsley in the Sussex town of Seaford. These 38 one- and two-bedroom apartments are based around an eye-catching spiral staircase. Prices start from £283,950.
But perhaps the ultimate first-class experience when it comes to retirement with Pegasus Life is its flagship Cotswolds project, Steepleton in Tetbury.
One recent customer is Carolyn Eadie, a retired headhunter and the wife of Michael Portillo
Intended as a contemporary take on a traditional farmstead, this tranquil haven was imagined with the nature-lover in mind. It has specially designed walkways and small bridges over a pond created for peaceful outdoor swimming.
Here, there are 113 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Prices start at £351,000 – almost a snip for such a lap of luxury.
Young at heart: Modern retirement villages offer an astonishing array of activities to inspire residents
By Victoria Bell
For many people, retirement means taking it easy and not doing anything too physically demanding. But at retirement developments up and down the country, there’s a huge variety of ways to keep active.
The women at Bishopstoke Park village, near Eastleigh in Hampshire, might just have taken this to a new level. They formed a cheerleading group, the Bishopstoke Belles, to give colourful support to the local walking football team in a crunch match last September.
With the help of fitness instructor Liz Kelly, the Belles perfected a three-and-a-half-minute routine to the song Uptown Funk, and at the match – won by Bishopstoke – there were calls for an encore.
The Belles are now hoping for another chance to shake their hips and pom-poms, and already have some ideas for their next routine.
‘We all love to stay fit and healthy and the cheerleading is a wonderful way for us all to connect,’ says Alison Frankel, one of the first residents at the village when she moved there three years ago.
The Belles practised two to three times a week for their moment of glory in the autumn, making use of the facilities and fitness classes the retirement village offers.
‘Everyone here looks out for each other and the classes help all of us to bond and do something active together as a group,’ says Alison.
Liz Kelly, a former national gymnast who represented Great Britain in her teens, choreographed the Uptown Funk routine. She says: ‘They were brilliant. Obviously we take age into consideration and wouldn’t want to push people, because it’s just a bit of fun and a bonding exercise.’
For many people, retirement means taking it easy and not doing anything too physically demanding
She adds: ‘I was really proud of the group. The football team, who ended up winning the match, bought them all ice creams as a reward for their hard work.’
Along the South Coast in Exeter’s Millbrook Village, designed by award-winning Renaissance Villages, retirees take part in t’ai chi classes. ‘It really calms my nerves and makes me feel so much more positive and relaxed,’ says resident Christine King, 72, who has noticed a huge change in her health since starting the class. Her posture and energy levels have improved immeasurably, she says.
Taking part in such activities regularly can lower the risk of least 20 ailments, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and some cancers – not to mention the emotional and psychological benefits they can bring.
One of Britain’s largest retirement living providers, McCarthy & Stone, take pride in the social activities that go on at their villages.
Over the past 12 months, 27,600 social events were held across McCarthy & Stone’s managed properties, including a pie and ale tasting event at Devonshire Grange in Roundhay, Leeds; a summer garden party at Brunlees Court in Southport, with live music from the Marshside Brass Band; inter-generational storytelling for World Book Day at Burey Court in Longridge, Lancashire, with pupils from Barnacre Road Primary School; a chocolate-making event at Grove Court in Crosby, Merseyside; and a flower-arranging masterclass at Mulberry Court in Blaby, Leicestershire.
Accessible style: Simple ways to future-proof your home without spoiling its look
By Rachel Ogden
There’s never been a better time to rethink your living space to make it more accessible, thanks to a wealth of stylish yet practical products. Whether you’re caring for elderly parents or want to guarantee your ‘forever home’ stays that way, adding well-designed mobility aids is a smart move.
More than ever, products that make it easier to carry on enjoying your property into your senior years are sleek, cleverly disguised and serve as functional features that can be used by any member of the household.
Create a beautiful bathroom
Adapting a bathroom for later in life doesn’t have to mean obtrusive bars and plastic stools. The latest products are practical as well as aesthetically pleasing.
For example, a wall-mounted toilet that’s hung slightly higher, or simply a taller version, will be easier to use in years to come, while adaptable grab rails, such as Bathstore’s brushed aluminium or chrome ones, can double up as towel rails or hanging space.
Far from being bulky and ugly, the latest walk-in baths come with designer good looks. Duravit’s contemporary Shower + Bath, for example, has a glass door and seating pad, so you can sit and dry yourself afterwards or use it as a back-rest in the bath. Alternatively, a walk-in wetroom-style area with a flush-to-floor tray is a great way of accessing a shower step-free.
Adapting a bathroom for later in life doesn’t have to mean obtrusive bars and plastic stools
Opt for a ‘tanked’ wetroom that’s fully sealed underneath and you can include a built-in bench, allowing you to wash while seated.
Step up to stair safety
You can make simple alterations to prevent tripping on the stairs. If you have an open staircase, add risers to fill in the gaps and minimise the chance of falling. It’s also a good idea to install lighting next to each step – low-energy LED strips or recessed lights will illuminate the treads, so you can see the edges clearly. You can use a contrasting colour to make the edges more visible, and grab bars at the top and bottom of the stairs will also help – several are finished in contemporary stainless steel or will match your banister so they’re less obvious.
If using the stairs becomes difficult, think about a stairlift. Several manufacturers produce versions that can be customised in different materials and trims, such as Stannah’s Starla. Stairlifts are also available for outside – great if you have a garden at the end of a set of uneven steps.
Another solution is installing a home lift – as handy for popping upstairs with a pile of laundry as it is for gliding down to breakfast. Many are self-contained, compact versions that won’t need major structural alterations so they can be installed almost anywhere.
Another solution is installing a home lift – as handy for popping upstairs with a pile of laundry as it is for gliding down to breakfast
A walk-in bath and shower