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Planning Retirement Online

How to Choose

If you want to move to a retirement village, choosing one is one of the most important things that you will do in retirement. It's a major change, one of the many potential changes that retirement will bring, and a critical one for many reasons.

Moving anywhere means that our lifestyle will change, we will have to make new friends if we move out of our area, we will need to discover new things and explore new places. What's more, moving is both expensive and quite stressful. Moving to a retirement village implies that we believe that this will be our last move and, indeed, in retirement the last thing most of want is to become a nomad - moving somewhere, finding that we don't like it and therefore having to move again. So our choice of retirement village is crucial to the rest of our life and it is, therefore, a choice that must be made most carefully.

Firstly, therefore, we need to think about why we want to move to a retirement village and is it the right choice for us? On the one hand, a retirement village will provide security, access to a new social life and easier access to care. On the other hand, we will probably lose some independence and autonomy and become at least partly institutionalised. We have to weigh up which side of the scales is heavier and choose accordingly.

Product DetailsOnce we have decided on a move, we then need to think about the cost. For the vast majority of us, this will be the limiting factor, so we have to always have our budget in mind. This is a budget both for the initial cost and for the ongoing charges and, clearly, the more that is provided the more expensive those charges will be.

Once we know our budget, we then have to ask ourselves what it is we want from a retirement village. These are some of the things that we might ask ourselves whether we want or not:

  • A communal lounge
  • Other communal facilities such as a restaurant, bar, snooker room etc
  • Organised classes to help us stay fit both physically and mentally
  • Fitness room
  • Organised trips and visits
  • On-site health care
  • On-site laundry
  • Someone to clean for us
  • Proximity to shops and other facilities
  • Transport links
  • Visits from a mobile library
  • A shopping service
  • Guest accommodation
  • Close to a town or a more rural location
  • A large degree of autonomy if we wish it

Guide to Retirement Villages links

Once we have decided what we want, it is then a process of identifying the company and the village that can provide us with most of what we want. The first step is to have a look online to see the details and you will find some useful links on the Where to Look page. This will probably enable you to draw up a shortlist. Once you have a shortlist, there is no alternative other than to do the legwork and go to see the villages that you have chosen. For all that a particular village seems to have what you want, you must see if you like the people who are there and the atmosphere of the village. We need to feel comfortable in our surroundings and the only way to know whether we will is to go and see the places.

Moving to a retirement village consists of an emotional element:

  • Do I like what I see?
  • Is the atmosphere good?
  • Do I feel comfortable here?
  • Do I like the people?

and an objective element:

  • Has it got all or most of what I want?

On the following page of the Guide is an exercise that you can go through to ensure that you cover all the objective aspects. So read this and the other pages of the Guide to get more information on Retirement Villages.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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