With the hot weather, and how we can get out and about to enjoy it, on everyone’s minds, it’s interesting to learn that the great outdoors is a clear priority for our retirees when choosing a retirement property to call their home.
Retirement Homesearch (RHS) surveyed around 1,000 over 50s across the UK to establish their priorities for choosing a retirement property, and a massive 93% rated the surrounding environment as important or very important.
Laura Fisher, Sales Manager for RHS said: “A sea view is always a winner and something we are asked to look for all the time. Our coastal hot spots are Torquay, Herne Bay, Grange-over-Sands, Cromer and the Isle of Wight. On the Isle of Wight we have the stunning Briary Court (pictured above) where residents are treated to spectacular sea-views and an indoor swimming pool.”
But a sea view comes with a price tag, and typically commands an £40k additional asking price – even though the development, flat and area is identical.
“It’s not just that sea view that attracts all the attention,” Laura explains. “Any view really sells and we have some stunning developments overlooking rivers and green open spaces that are also in high demand.”
The opportunity to get out and about and active is also a big appeal. “Common criteria we are asked to consider is good bus routes, being close to shops and amenities and an active social life within the development,” Laura says.
“Many of our development’s Social Committees organise days out or events focused around the development’s communal areas and this is of great appeal to buyers who may be feeling isolated or lonely in the current big family home where they now live alone.”
And why is the great outdoors so important to older people’s wellbeing? Dr Barbara Humberstone Professor Emeritus, Sociology of Sport and Outdoor Education, Buckinghamshire New University shared some insights with us.
“There is now considerable research that tells us that it is not only exercise, but also the environment in which we live that influences the way we feel; both mental wellbeing and physical health. Fresh air and accessibility to suitably designed landscapes can provide for a happy and healthy life-style.
“Green spaces (areas of trees, plants and flowers) are uplifting – and if a garden offers raised flower/vegetable beds, those with impaired mobility can actively garden, if they wish, meaning the space will provide even greater benefits.
“Beyond the garden, there is a world of healthy stimuli; from town-centre markets and museums, to forests and lakes. The sedate occupations associated with the retirees of stereotype needn’t be the limits of today’s older folk. We see now clearer than ever the benefits of even gentle exercise, but we also see ever more examples of the elderly engaging in more intensive activities. While accommodating mobility issues and minimising risk, there are still many ways that we can and should make the outside world accessible as we age.
“Keeping mobile as we age is so important, as recent research shows. Significantly, current medical research has identified the strong connection between physical activity and maintaining a healthy brain – that is, the more physically active we are, the less likely we are to develop memory loss, and it may even delay or ameliorate Alzheimer’s disease.
“Walking in a beautiful green space is recommended. Ponds and waterways provide a sense of nature and add to the benefits of the environment by stimulating all our senses.
“Given that we now see that these issues can add quality, and potentially even years to our lives, it would be wonderful to see future retirement developments taking their outside offering further and using it as a major selling point.”
Retirement Homesearch is Britain’s number one retirement property specialist.