Retirement villages are now attracting two generations from the same family reports JANE SLADE

Thelma Foxhall and Hilda Hammock

Thelma Foxhall and Hilda Hammock

In Selby, North Yorkshire, 101 year old Hilda Hammock moved to Anchor’s Pymble development to join her daughter Thelma, 81, who has lived there for four years.

Thelma has a bedroom on the first floor and Hilda on the ground floor, so mother and daughter have their own independence but can see each other every day.

“As an only child, we have always had a close relationship and it is lovely to have her close by,” says widow Thelma.

“I have three children, 10 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren (mum’s great great grandchildren!) so we have plenty of visitors.”

Pymble is a sheltered housing scheme for over 55s with 39 studio, one bedroom and two bedroom properties available for rent from £447.85 a month and includes service charge, heating, hot water and water rates.

“As the average life expectancy continues to grow, the age gap between our youngest and oldest residents is also increasing; so multi-generational living in our retirement developments is becoming more common,” observes Howard Nankivell, Anchor’s Housing Operations Director

“We appreciate that the needs of a 55 year old differs significantly from someone in their 80s or 90s. We therefore take a flexible approach that adapts to the needs of both generations.”

Increasingly too it is the children moving first and persuading mum or dad to join them.

Val Richards was just 56 when she moved to Retirement Villages’ Lime Tree Village in Warwickshire with her husband Paddy. That was nine years ago. Earlier this year she persuaded her mum Maureen, 88, a retired teacher, to buy a two-bedroom apartment there too.

“It’s given mum a new lease of life,” she says.

“Mum could never have been so independent if she had stayed in her own home in Leamington Spa. She was housebound and dependent on friends or me to take her everywhere. Here she can dine with friends in the restaurant and has joined the craft group.”

It has also made visits from Maureen’s three grandchildren and great grandchildren easier. They can put up the whole family as they each have two bedrooms and there is also a guest suite.

Retirement housebuilders McCarthy and Stone has also seen an increasing number of parents and their children, moving into its developments across the UK.

“We know of several sites that have two generations of the same family living under one roof,” says Geoff Bates, Head of Brand and Communications.

“A lot of the time it’s so the child can feel like they are supporting or caring for their parent while also preparing for their own old age, or in some cases where the parent has moved in first, they see the independent, active, social lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to, and they think…hang on a minute I want a slice of that too!”

Richard and Lola Cross are already feeling the benefit since their daughter Debbie and her husband Nigel joined them at Richmond Bede Village near Coventry six months ago.

It really is a case of happy families now my daughter is here

“It gives us more of a purpose having them here,” says Richard, 82 who bought a two-bed apartment with his wife 15 years ago, then was joined a year later by his sister Maureen who bought one too.

“It really is a case of happy families now my daughter is here,” he adds. Full-time teacher Debbie 59 and her semi-retired husband Nigel, 63 moved into a two-bed cottage six months ago.

“Although I am 82 and my daughter is 59 we don’t notice the age gap. We love doing things together, we all have the same interests and even go on holiday together.”

Richard, a retired purchasing manager and Lola have been more active since Debbie and Nigel arrived – or rather their West Highland terrier arrived.

“We walk Barney every day. It keeps us active,” Richard enthuses.

“We still lead our own lives and I still drive but it’s nice to know Debbie and Nigel are on hand to help us if we need it. We need younger people around. They are stimulating company.”

Richmond Villages can also boast six centenarians at its Northampton village.

“With people living ever-longer and property values continuing to rise, we will inevitably see different generations from the same family increasingly living together.

“A retirement village is therefore the perfect solution. Not only can people retain their lifestyle and their own front door, they have the reassurance of knowing that other members of the family can be close by.” Says Philippa Fieldhouse, managing director, Richmond Villages.

Having children return to the nest can rejuvenate older mums and dads. Val Richards’ 88 year old mum Maureen has rediscovered her passion for her baking since moving to Lime Tree Village. Her Victoria sponge would rival any on Bake Off.