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Where do you want to live when you grow up?

It's not a sexy topic but the over-65s are increasing in number, richer than ever and looking for places to live that really suit their new lives! Step forward all-inclusive, luxury retirement villages and why people wish they'd done it sooner...

Did you know Britain’s population of over-65s will grow four times faster than the general population over the next five years?* That’s a lot of people! Many of these will be parents (maybe yours). Many will have had long, successful careers, large family homes and are now looking to downsize (with a long list of added extras they’d like in their new accommodation). Cue an increase in very swish retirement villages, one of which, is right here in Northamptonshire. We’ve written about The Hawthorns before…its MANY appealing all-inclusive features like a luxury restaurant, wine with dinner, a hairdressers and a bowling alley; but one of the interesting nuggets we found on a recent visit is how many people who go there, wish they’d done it sooner (we reckon cocktails on tap and free walking clubs might do that ; )

There are reasons people don’t do it sooner. Things like timing and inconvenience. They think it may be stressful and the thought of leaving a family home is very daunting and emotional. There is also that feeling of losing independence, but recently, there has been a real change in perception in line with the increasing popularity of independent retirement villages like Hawthorns. These places are sparkling. And like 5 star hotels they have fine dining, walking clubs, yoga, reading groups, afternoon tea, post dinner Port…the list goes on.

And because so much is done for you (even your laundry if you like), it leaves you all the time for those things you’ve always wanted to do; a University degree, learning the violin, making every one of their grandchild’s rugby matches! Sarah Croxtall who works at Hawthorns says: ‘People think they’re going to lose their independence, but they actually gain it. They can generally manage their home better which means more time to do what they really want to do, all while making new friends (if they want to). Everyone has their own apartment so they can mingle as much, or as little as they’d like; but one thing they all have in common is more time for themselves.’

Rachel Johnston, a propertyfinder for Stacks Property Search, the real life version of ‘Escape to the Country’, says that about 50% of her clients are ‘downsizers’. ‘Do not underestimate the sheer relief of living in a property that you are not battling to get around or maintain on a daily basis,’ she says. ‘That could mean not having to grapple with stairs to get that first morning cup of tea, using ALL the rooms you have or just being nearer some assistance should you need it (from family, friends or community). Without fail, all my downsizing clients wish they had done it sooner, so I always advise clients to be thinking ‘how do you want to live?’ rather than ‘what do you want to live in?’ Use this as a starting point to work out whether you are in the right living arrangement.’

The Hawthorns is just one of many amazing retirement villages that are changing the way people perceive downsizing and they have done it through style, comfort, independence and luxury. We work with Hawthorns to help promote what they do; but as with all of our featured businesses, we wouldn’t write about them unless we’d genuinely recommend them to a friend. And on this occasion, I am genuinely recommending it to my Mother!

Here are a few testimonials from people who took the plunge, moved to Hawthorns but wished they’d done it sooner…

Bruce McDonald

Bruce moved in on 17/10/2018

“I wish I had done it earlier at least 6 to 7 years ago but this was not built then. I am glad that I decided to come to The Hawthorns when I did. The amenities and the staff are great, there’s something to do every day if you want to. Staff are very caring too.”

David and Audrey Barlow

David and Audrey moved in on 01/05/2018

“We didn’t need a trial as soon as we came here we liked it very much. It’s the best life for us and it could not get any better. Why oh why didn’t we do it sooner? It’s good we knew the area and there is plenty to do with outings and activities if you want to”

Jackie  White

Jackie moved in on 01/09/2018.

“My first impression was WOW and it was my family who decided to look while  I was on holiday and they loved The Hawthorns. I saw it and so wished I had done it sooner. What a great community and very friendly and helpful staff.”

So what do you think? You can book a visit if you fancy a nosey round and a one-month all inclusive trial is £400 (special price for August). It may only be a glimpse but it still includes all the perks so it will certainly give good insight into what it’s like to spice up your (or you parent’s) retirement.

*thanks to the FT for the info which was in a survey they featured

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