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A major deterrent to downsizing is being unable to find a suitable retirement development close to your family and friends. But what if you could persuade them to move to the same development as you?

This is just what Barbara Friggens did some 80 years after being born in the same house as her cousin Corinne. Now the pair are living side by side again after Barbara encouraged Corinne and her husband to move to Churchill Retirement Living’s King Harold Lodge in Waltham Abbey where Barbara owns a one-bedroom apartment with her husband John.

In some ways they were continuing a family tradition.

“My mother and Barbara’s mother were sisters, and eventually in later life found themselves living side-by-side in a block similar to this,” explains Corinne who moved with her husband John from the home they shared for 18 years in Enfield.

“It’s been so special to be able to do the same things together that our mothers did. What’s even better is that I can pop out to see my cousin without having to put my coat on!”

Then the cousins persuaded their friends Maureen and Eddie Kay to move in too.

“There is a wonderful community spirit here at the Lodge – there’s always something going on,” enthused Maureen.

“Whether it’s a fish and chip supper or cocktail making class in the Owners’ Lounge, a trip to the local cinema or an afternoon cream tea somewhere, there’s an impressive calendar of events for everyone to enjoy. It’s obviously nice to be living in the same development as our friends too, so we’re grateful they recommended it to us.”

Collective downsizing means friends (and cousins) can all grow old together and have a safety net knowing they won’t be alone.

As Barbara adds, “Looking towards the future, if one of us was to be left on our own it’s much nicer to be here with a support network of friends and family around us, rather than all alone in a big three-bedroom house like the one we left behind.

“Since moving here I know I’ve always got somebody nearby to look out for me, and of course I can also do the same in return.”

More and more developers are seeing friends and family looking to form communities in later life.

“There is a growing trend for friends to buy neighbouring apartments in retirement complexes,” comments Neil MacKichan from the retirement property website Retiremove. “And as we are all living longer it won’t be long before we see clusters of several generations of one family moving into retirement developments and forming a communities of their own.”

Keeping friends and family together means you can carry on the life you enjoyed before without feeling isolated and cut off from those you love and care for.

As Churchill CEO Spencer McCarthy says:” It’s a great way for siblings or cousins to re-connect with each other, and even for different generations to have the convenience of living under the same roof, but still with the privacy of their own front door.”

Churchill even offers a friends referral scheme rewarding homeowners a £2,500 cash reward for each friend or family member they introduce. www.churchillretirement.co.uk