Closing the distance gap between you and your parents has huge benefits that can make a difference to everyone’s lives

Helping to plan your parents’ future isn’t easy. But encouraging them to move closer to you when they get older will be a boon to your life as well as theirs.

After many years of independence, you might think it’s unnecessary – but as your loved ones continue to age, you’ll soon realise it’s for the best for everyone.

The Retirement Villages Group has witnessed this first-hand.

They have seen what closing the distance gap between children and parents can mean. Their retirement villages are known for their inclusive, active and independent nature.

This means that when families live nearby, they can be immersed into village life with their parents.

Whether it’s enjoying activities in the clubhouse, a coffee morning at the restaurant or venturing out into the local community.

These all form precious memories and feelings of togetherness.

Jane and Gordon Briggs, who live at Elmbridge Village in Surrey, enjoy taking their 15-year-old dog Chester on three walks a day and are often joined by their son’s dog. Jane explained: “My son is 22 and he has a dog who also enjoys walks around the village. I’ve joked that in another 40 years our son could be living here too!”

Jane Briggs and dog Chester

Although we’re now living in a very much modern world, no amount of digital technology can replace a get together face to face.

No matter your age, knowing support is nearby is paramount too.

If, as the child, you just need some wise words from your parents or equally your parents are having a particularly down day – it’s nice to know you can pop in to see them.

Michael O’Connor, son of Avonpark residents in Wiltshire, has discovered how much this can mean.

Michael regularly visits with his children which has proven invaluable to both him and his parents, especially his father who has dementia.

He explains: “Mum finds it very reassuring that I’m just around the corner.

“I think that living at Avonpark will give her a new lease of life, which is just what she needs.

“Dad’s dementia means that he does get confused at times, but he’s totally engaged when the children are there. So, it’s great that we can visit more often now, and my parents will be able to see their grandchildren grow up – the children love having their grandparents close by.”

As neither parent drives anymore, the village minibus offers a great way for them to get around.

Michael, a graphic designer, is fortunate enough to be flexible with his time and being just around the corner means he can sit with his father whilst his wife, Emma, takes his mum into town.

Michael continues: “I was an only child and my parents always made sure that I had everything I needed, so it’s really nice to be able to help them now. The living options available at Avonpark are superb and I would highly recommend considering a move to the village for a loved one, when the time is right.”

Quite simply, encouraging your parents to move closer to you provides options not obstacles.

Knowing they will be able to make it to their grandchildren or great-grandchildren’s school play or able to pop over for lunch without the stress of a long journey can make a vital difference to their wellbeing too.

Dog walking appears to be one of the top activities parents and children share together at our villages.

Charters Village resident, John Kidwell explains: “Being close to my family is wonderful because I get to see my daughter and grandchildren all the time. It’s nice to be able to spend time together and share our love of dog walking!”

John Kidwell and daughter Louise enjoying dog walking at Charters Village

His daughter Louise emphasises the benefit of the shared West Sussex location: “I try and visit dad most days. I have a Border Terrier dog called Millie and we take the dogs out for a walk together. We wouldn’t be able to do that if dad lived further away.

“Now that he doesn’t drive anymore, I also try to take him to his medical appointments but there is a local taxi service which is very reliable. My children come and visit too, taking him shopping, and if I am away, they’ll pop over to have dinner. He’s made a lot of friends at the village too, which is lovely.”

The beauty of a retirement village allows those who are unable to live close to their families, to benefit from the presence of someone else’s. The villages aren’t gated communities, but they certainly are strong communities with a family environment. It’s not uncommon to see local schools visiting or families dropping in – providing the perfect mix of a family atmosphere.

To find out more about Retirement Villages’ 16 villages just click here or call 01372 383950 to find out more.



Charters Village

Elmbridge Village