Living in a retirement community helps people feel less lonely

A recent survey carried out for the Jo Cox Commission on loneliness found that almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely. Loneliness is a major public health concern; however, having an active social life can be a way of avoiding this as people get older.

According to Age UK, one of the main aspirations people have for when they reach 60 or older is having a circle of friends they see frequently. Increasingly, its the social side of retirement living that is drawing many older people to move to retirement developments.

Peter Girling, Chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals confirms: “In our experience the social benefits of living in a retirement community is one of the main reasons people approach us to downsize and want to rent in a retirement development.

“As well as the financial benefits, having a readymade community on the doorstep can be a real lifeline for single people especially. They can enjoy a whole range of social activities, from coffee mornings to fish and chip suppers, as well as day trips out.”

One gentleman who has been reaping the benefits of a great social life since moving to a retirement development through Girlings is Alan Guinn, who moved to Brunel Court in Portishead, Somerset just over a year ago.

Alan previously lived in Spain, where he and his wife were the first English people to move into their small Spanish village in Valencia. During this time, Alan, 75, was appointed Official Consul by the local mayor to look after other British people who subsequently moved to the area.

Alan Guinn (right)

However, Alan lost his wife in 2014 and later became seriously ill, which meant he had to return to the UK.

He sold his flat in Spain but the proceeds were not large enough to purchase a property back home, so he decided to rent a retirement property instead and found an apartment at Brunel Court.

Alan is a real extrovert, so the social community at the development was really important to him, as well as having access to a 24-hour care line in case of emergency and having a house manager on site too. The other clincher for Alan was the fact he could take his two pet dogs with him.

Alan says, “Being here has really brought me back to life, I’m not the type of person who can sit back and do nothing, I want to get involved in things so have been very active within the residential community which has made me feel worthwhile again.”

Alan holds wine tasting sessions for the other residents once a month in the residents’ lounge with the most recent being a ‘Port and Presley’ night. He says the development is full of people keen to socialise and they all get on very well. There are often events in the residents’ lounge such as exercise classes and music afternoons, and they are planning some group outings too.

Alan adds, “I am very proud of where I live, the location is perfect with everything I need within reach, there’s a Waitrose and a well-stocked library nearby. It’s a beautiful area and I thoroughly enjoy taking my dogs for walks along the harbour every morning – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

Girlings has over 2500 retirement apartments across the UK to suit all budgets, locations and aspirations. Most properties are located in purpose built developments where facilities include a Residents’ Lounge, laundry and gardens, a development manager on site to support residents and there is a 24 emergency call system in each property in case of emergency.

To find out more visit the website www.girlings.co.uk.