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Category Archive retirement

Can Living in a Retirement Home be good for you

As most people reading this will already be aware (or soon be aware of), making the decision to move a family member or even to move yourself into a retirement facility is a difficult time in anyone’s life.

If chosen correctly, it can be a great decision that benefits everyone involved but that doesn’t make it any less emotional as it simply marks the end of an era in a similar way to when a child moves out of the family home. A retirement community in whatever capacity it comes is a great place for the elderly to live an active and enjoyable life with similar individuals in a safe and well looked after environment.

There are many different types of accommodation available, for example, a retirement home or exclusive apartments within a retirement complex. Whilst there are obviously exceptions, a significant amount of retirement villages and properties are usually located in the countryside or by the sea with a growing number of developments in the latter.
There are varying levels of retirement communities starting from “affordable” retirement housing which are frequently run by not-for-profit agencies and charities, such as the local council. This offers a reasonable standard of living to the poorer local residents who qualify for these assisted living facilities. Whilst these homes are required to charge rent to support their upkeep, the fees are often very low, often as low as £40 a week. These kinds of properties are very basic but still comfortable for the residents with 24-hour emergency call available to them in the case of any health issues as well as carers who will visit regularly to ensure everything is ok. For more information about this low-cost retirement housing, you can visit the government page at www.direct.gov.uk/en/CaringForSomeone/CareHomes.
On the opposite end of the scale is the resort-style retirement communities such as those offered by Richmond Villages (www.richmondvillages.co.uk) and St Georges Park (www.stgeorgespark.co.uk), which have a wide-range of modern facilities for the residents to use. As well as nice living accommodation, the resorts will have a variety of activities available such as swimming pools, tennis courts, spas, gyms as well as restaurants, hairdressers, shops. These are very much based on the holiday resort feel, attempting to offer anything that the residents may need or want. This may make you want to retire now but unfortunately as you’d expect the fees can be quite high, although with massive variations based on the quality of and facilities in the resort.
For most people in the UK, they will be looking for somewhere in the middle such as care homes offered by Pegasus (www.pegasus-homes.co.uk). These retirement communities will usually be privately funded (i.e. by the residents) and in most cases, be profit-making companies. These are usually pleasant retirement homes or villages designed to give residents support and assistance where necessary but can also feature many modern facilities such as swimming pools as well as dedicated rooms to enjoy activities such as dancing, arts and crafts, libraries etc. As with the resort style retirement communities, the quality and number of these modern features will obviously effect the cost for the resident.

Retirement Charities and Associations

Throughout the UK there are many charities whose aim is to help make life easier for the elderly. If you’re only just retiring now it’s probably not something you need to give much thought to but in a decade or two’s time, you may find that you don’t have the same support from family or friends that you used to. This is very rarely because you no longer have them or they no longer care, but simply because they have their own lives, families and problems and it may even be a conscious decision by you not to rely on them.

One charity that focuses on filling this gap left by your previous support circle is Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk). Age UK is a recent merger between the two biggest age-related charities, Age Concern and Help the Aged. Admittedly the names, particularly before the merger, sound quite patronising and you may feel that you don’t need that kind of help but they deal with all aspects of growing older from where to invest your money, information on local retirement homes and communities and even more trivial things such as the best holiday destinations for retired people and help if you are looking to get back into employment in some capacity. They have over 330 local centers around the country and help over 5 million individuals every year, so they are by no means a small charity and pride themselves on being able to support individuals in all areas of their lives.

Another charity specialising in working with the older generation is Independent Age (www.independentage.org). They are a much more active support group for those that need them as opposed to a charity in the traditional sense and encourage the older people they support to contribute to the support community if they would like to. Many of those who are supported by Independent Age then go on to volunteer whether that be supporting others or acting as fundraisers to help the charity increase the scope of it’s works. The charity even has a magazine that is made up of contributions from these volunteers, designed to address issues that other post-retirement adults may come across.

Whilst these are two of the biggest charities in the UK that focus on retired and elderly individuals, there are many more local or regional associations and charities. These are often dependent on what you do for a living (such as www.csp.org.uk/membership/retirement – the retirement association for physiotherapists or www.narpo.org.uk the national association of retired police officers) or where you are located in the country (such as www.surreyretirement.org.uk for retired persons in Surrey). If you are thinking of retiring or have already retired and looking to join one of these associations, even if it is just to meet people in a similar position to yourself, the quickest way is to simply search on the internet for retirement associations in your region. Alternatively you can visit your local Age UK office and they can point you in the right direction.

Mobility Scooters, really?

Not so long ago the only realistic option for most of the (non-royalty!) population losing the ability to walk whether permanently or even just finding it difficult, was to buy a wheelchair which was quite an expensive option. However, the wonders of technological advancements has led to a much more practical, enjoyable and not outrageously expensive option. Mobility scooters are now not only an affordable option for those suffering mobility problems but are even starting to become quite an attractive option.

Obviously, the terms used above “not outrageously expensive” and “affordable” is very dependent on the person you are asking but the main problem mobility scooter retailers such as www.valuemobility.co.uk and www.discountmobilitydirect.co.uk have encountered is it’s low and driving range which was severely limited. However, even more, technological advancements have now given us modern scooters that can drive as far as 25 miles on a single battery charge making them a lot more of a realistic option than their predecessors or the electric wheelchair.

More and more people are starting to realise that a mobility scooter is a very beneficial alternative for someone who, through temporary or permanent injury or the virtually inevitable physical restriction that comes with old age, is restricted to a wheelchair. However, an unexpected outcome for manufacturers is that the biggest market for retailers of these scooters has not been the former wheelchair users who do continue to buy them, but rather from those of advancing years or those with a weight and size problem that limits their mobility. For example, the Pride Maxima 4 model can hold over 35 stone of weight (www.discountmobilitydirect.co.uk/mobility-scooters/pavement-mobility-scooters/pride-maxima-4.aspx).

For the older person, a mobility scooter can take over the walk to the shop, or a visit to a friend. Once at the destination the rider can then dismount and walk around a store or a friend’s home on foot.
When used in this way a mobility vehicle actually promotes health and exercise by removing distance barriers and opening up travel options. Using a scooter in this way actually increases the amount of time a mobility restricted person spends outside their home and encourages them to spend more time outdoors.

For those with mobility restricting weight problems, a scooter can remove the constraint of having to stay close to the home for fear of becoming out of breath or exhausted. A vehicle of this type makes getting around easy and worry-free and it can always be parked up if the owner wants to take a walk or wonder around a shop on foot and virtually all modern mobility scooters have baskets or baggage areas making them ideal for carrying shopping and the seats are padded and comfortable.

Whether you’re getting on in age and just want to increase your mobility, or you are disabled and view owning electric mobility as a means of improving your quality of life, purchasing an electric mobility scooter will be one of the best investments you have ever made. With electric mobility scooters getting faster, cheaper and lighter more and more people are making this investment and with sites such as www.preloved.co.uk offering the opportunity to purchase second-hand mobility scooters at much lower prices, even those that didn’t think it was an affordable option are starting to re-think their decision.