Move to a Retirement Community and Avoid Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation by Jane Slade
Guest Blog: Jane Slade, founder of the retirement property website retiremove.co.uk
The Covid pandemic was a desperate time for retirees. Many lived in fear of catching the dreaded illness but, perhaps worse, suffered depression from feeling isolated and alone.
Conversely, those living in Integrated Retirement Communities felt safe, connected and cared for.
This is because the amazing staff in IRCs all over the country made sure their residents and homeowners never felt alone. Staff helped with ordering their shopping online, arranged remote exercise classes, brought cooked meals from the restaurant, and engaged in conversations at safe distances.
People felt safe. They could go for a walk in their private landscaped garden, knowing they would never come across a sweaty jogger, get knocked down by an out-of-control cyclist or run into by a posse of children.
Many of those who lived alone in large rambling houses felt isolated and cut off. They were trapped in homes they were fast falling out of love with. It is perhaps not surprising that retirement operators soon reported a spike in enquiries.
Shiplake Meadows, a new IRC near Henley-on-Thames in South Oxfordshire, has been considerately designed to ensure that anyone who buys a home here has access to a variety of activities and services to prevent them from feeling isolated or lonely.
Quite apart from it being a luxurious development in a fabulous location, the operators have ensured it can offer all the emotional benefits of living in a community in later life.
We now live in a society where many people are divorced or widowed. They may not have children, and if they do they live far away or in another country.
The exciting prospect of moving to somewhere like Shiplake Meadows will enable you to have a new later life. To meet like-minded people and make new friends who relate to where you are now and what you want for your future.
You will be relieved of the guilt of relying on your children to have you over every Sunday lunch; to give you a lift to the surgery; help you with your shopping; checking your house hasn’t been broken into when you go away.
You will feel safe and, if you need it, looked after and cared for at Shiplake Meadows. Of course, you can live as independently as you do now. You will have your own front door and freedom to come and go as you please and do whatever you wish.
The only difference is that you will also have so many facilities and activities on your doorstep, including six and a half acres of grounds.
There will also be spacious communal areas, the opportunity to take part in fitness classes in the gym, join fellow residents for meals in the restaurant, and go on organised excursions. In fact, you may be too busy to see your family every weekend!
The worries and fears of living alone are eradicated. Shiplake Meadows will have staff on site 24 hours a day and a safe-and-sound security system.
Those living in retirement communities during the pandemic were well cared for in ways they could have never imagined.
They could communicate with their family and friends via Zoom and Skype. Their village manager would broadcast bulletins about the latest government guidelines and publish regular online information updates. Some operators produced newsletters with agony aunts and problem sections and staged online events connecting residents in different villages. They also offered virtual music recitals and cooking demonstrations.
Many of these benefits have remained included in the menu of activities on offer.
“Isolation and loneliness are major issues in our society,” says Beatrix Lehnert, Director of retirement specialists Probitas.
“They often prevail for people living in large and sometimes unsuitable marital homes and can only worsen as older homeowners age, and they cannot do the things they used to as well as having less of a social life than in previous years,”
“Our homeowners’ holistic well-being is a key priority for us.
“Everyone who chooses to buy a home at Shiplake is free to do as much or as little as they wish, but we can help them continue to live very rich, fulfilled lives well into old age, if they want to.
“It is a well-known fact that when older people feel disconnected and isolated, their health declines. We want people to live longer, happier, healthier lives in their later years and have designed Shiplake Meadows with that in mind.”
Indeed, Shiplake Meadows will have a village clubhouse in the style of a timber-clad barn with a bistro, bar, gym and fitness suite, leading to an outdoor terrace with seating surrounded by colourful flower beds, which will be peppered throughout the grounds.
Shiplake Meadows will be the perfect home if you are seeking a boutique hotel/country club environment. And if you want your friends and family to come and stay to mark a special birthday or anniversary, there are even two guest apartments available. What more can you ask for?