Living in a retirement community leads to people having healthier and happier lives, research has shown.
The study found that 90% of retirement community residents thought they had moved into a setting at the right time in their lives, with 6% said they would rather had moved in sooner. Another 71% saw moving into a retirement community as a chance to make new friends.
Figures showed that 23% of residents ‘strongly agreed’ that their quality of life was higher than it was a year before and another 32% said they ‘agreed’.
Two-thirds (64%) of residents said they ‘hardly ever or never’ felt lonely in the past week.
The study, conducted in partnership between ProMatura International and the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), covered 2,799 residents from 81 retirement communities run by 15 operators. A total of 1,111 older people who were considering a move into retirement communities also took part in the research.
The average age of respondents was 82.9 and respondents had lived in the community for an average of 4.5 years.
The study, Housing, health and care: The health and wellbeing benefits of retirement communities, made a number of recommendations, including local authorities ensuring they have provisions in their local plans for such developments, and for central government to create a legal and regulatory framework for retirement communities.
Michael Voges, executive director of ARCO, said: ‘It is amazing to have such high quality data on our sector. This reinforces what our members have been reporting and seeing on the ground for years – that living in a retirement community is good for your health, wellbeing and sense of security.
‘It is easy to see why retirement communities are set to account for three quarters of all specialist housing for older people within five years. They represent a fantastic offering for increasing numbers of older people and are based on a responsible, sustainable business model which is attracting record levels of investment.’
Margaret Wylde, chief executive and founder of ProMatura added: ‘This is the first time that these questions have been asked on this scale and the data provides vital insight for investors, operators and suppliers in this sector.
‘We are working through the full implications and are already exploring several options for follow-up research to support the fastest growing sector in housing for older people in the UK.’