The Future of Retirement Living
As the baby boomers reach retirement age healthier and more active than any previous retired generation, we can already see that retirement and what it entails is changing by leaps and bounds. But for retirement housing developers such as Churchill Retirement Living, it raises questions about how lifestyles and living environments will change as a result.
By 2037 it is estimated that 1 in 4 people will be over 65, compared to today where it is 1 in 6. As well as a larger proportion of retirees, the older generation will be healthier thanks to modern healthcare, greater affluence and better understanding about healthy lifestyle choices.
Currently there is a clear disparity between the way in which older people live and their housing. The retired generation spend more time out socialising with friends and family, pursuing hobbies or getting involved in community events and yet often live in large, family homes with a lot of redundant space. There is a belief that this is because most people wish to remain in the house they have lived in for many years, where they have raised their family, and although this may be true to an extent, from speaking to older people they often say that they would like to downsize, to save on running and maintenance costs, but find that there is either a very poor choice of suitable retirement properties to buy or any options that are available don’t actually meet their needs.
In the future, developers aim to deliver retirement housing that offers financial stability, independence and the right environment that enables an enjoyable and comfortable retirement for all.
As the retired generation becomes healthier there will be a shift away from traditional care home structures and towards more independent living. Research has shown that retirees value their independence very highly, which is why most prefer to own their property rather than rent. However, currently there are far more retirement properties in the rented sector, which has led to fewer people making the move into specialised housing despite high interest in this type of accommodation.
Putting the right kind of accommodation in place also helps people to ‘age in place’, a concept that has become increasingly popular in the USA. It means offering the right kind of support to help people to live and care for themselves independently, which will then lead to a boom in the home care technology industry as well as alleviating pressure on the NHS which is under growing strain from the aging population.
Many retirement properties already take advantage of assistive technologies such as built-in emergency call buttons. In the future, we would expect these kinds of technologies to become even more prevalent with the Internet of Things being leveraged to deliver automated care and assistance to people in the comfort of their own homes. Smart home systems will be able to keep track of medications and vital signs and doctors may be able to assess patients remotely for faster, more efficient treatment.
Technology will also be used to reduce our carbon footprint such as eco-friendly building materials and smart heating systems and appliances that will reduce energy consumption. These kinds of technologies are highly likely to be implemented into all types of housing however as there is a significant lack of housing compared to demand at present, retirement housing developers could be some of the early adopters of new smart home tech.
Community and Lifestyle
In a generation of more active and independent retirees, it is expected that community and lifestyle will play a major role in people’s decisions to move into a retirement property. Developers such as Churchill Retirement Living take this into account when building their lodges and build them close to town or city centres so that it is easy for residents to reach local amenities easily. Impressive communal areas are also very common, where residents can catch up over a tea or coffee, or pass time with a spot of gardening. Lodge managers also help to bring residents and local people together through organised events from charity fundraisers to dance classes.
We expect that retirement developments of the future will offer even more features such as communal gyms, spa facilities, libraries, studio spaces and more to appeal to the active retired population, something we are already seeing in many developments in Britain and the USA.
Churchill Retirement Living are very excited about the future of retirement living and believe that there are many advantages to development in this industry. Better housing for older people will help retirees live longer, healthier lives and will help to unlock a generation of much needed family homes into the housing market. Smart development planning will also help to build better integrated communities and help local businesses to thrive.
To find out more about Churchill Retirement Living visit churchillretirement.co.uk.