Weighing up the pros and cons as to where to live when one gets to retirement is not always the easiest, though at least today there is a range of options available. Those silver years should be comfortable and affordable, so what are the options open to retirees?
When a house has been a home for many years, it can be difficult to think about moving out of it. It’s often perfectly possible to stay put, but it may be necessary to have parts of it adapted, making it easier to get around. Maintaining independence for as long as possible may also require some additional support in the home, such as for preparing meals or cleaning. The local council will make a care assessment and may make a contribution to costs, after carrying out a means test.
Despite the wrench of leaving a much-loved home, it can be a good move to downsize to a more manageable property. This is where options may include a bungalow, so there are no stairs to be negotiated. Users of wheelchairs should check that doors, both interior and exterior, are the appropriate width for easy access and manoeuvrability. Non-slip floors and grab handles for the bath and shower are other safety aspects to consider. Downsizing could release equity for homeowners that could top up a pension, and running costs could be reduced for a smaller place.
Remaining living independently for as long as possible is something that the majority of those who have retired would prefer to do. One way of maintaining that independence is to go into sheltered housing where accommodation is generally self-contained but where a warden – a manager – might live on the site, or offsite. In either case, an alarm system should provide emergency help, 24 hours a day. The majority of sheltered housing is provided by housing associations and local councils and is rented.
For older people with more complex needs, a care home may be the best option for later years. Owners of care homes include local councils, charitable and voluntary organisations and private companies, where MBi Social Care, part of the MBi Group of companies, is a leading provider of specialist care. Founded by Mr Gavin Lee Woodhouse, who is also chairman of several property organisations, MBi Social Care works to provide individual care packages, mainly for those living with dementia or other related conditions.
There is a variety of different care homes, and which one is chosen will depend on the assessed needs of the person planning to enter one. Care homes offer assistance with personal care, such as washing and dressing, and nursing homes offer this as well as help from qualified nurses. In addition, there are the homes for people with dementia and homes that are dual registered, so as a resident’s needs increase they don’t have to move.
Overall, there are plenty of options available for your silver years, and ultimately it comes down to personal choice, with support from relatives.