From sailing around the world to life at an Inspired Village

Globetrotting resident David Phillips shares why renting in later life gave him a new start and improved his wellbeing.

Later living operator Inspired Villages has responded to demand for more retirement homes for rent by making its retirement villages available to renters – as well as homeowners. This rental option offers over 65s the chance to enjoy all the benefits of life at an Inspired village without being tied into home ownership.

Research by the Centre for Ageing Better has shown that 414,000 older households in the UK now rent a property – up 63% from 254,000 in 2007. By 2040, a third of over 60s could be living in private rented accommodation, according to the study.*

Inspired Villages provides rental options that allow for flexible, independent living, giving residents a chance to experience all an Inspired village has to offer and improve their wellbeing with a range of facilities on offer.

David Phillips, aged 87, is a resident at Inspired’s Millbrook village, in Exeter. David spent most of his retired life enjoying boats, having spent over 20 years sailing with his late partner, including two years sailing around the world.

After David’s long term partner passed away, he decided that he needed to move to new surroundings, suited to his new situation and rented a two bedroom apartment at Millbrook. David comments: “My apartment is spacious, well equipped and with two bedrooms it offers the opportunity of family visiting from time to time. Renting has offered me the opportunity to spend some time assessing if this will be suitable for me without a long term commitment.”

He adds: “Both families and friends have been impressed by the general ambience, the surroundings and the apartment itself.”

This option of renting offers over 65s the chance to enjoy all the benefits of life at an Inspired village, without being tied into home ownership. The central facilities at Millbrook, which include; a cinema, brasserie, library, wellness spa, gym and games room and the lure of an active lifestyle were major factors in David’s move to the village, he says: “It has surely been a major factor in improving my wellbeing despite the restrictions of the lockdown.”

After spending years travelling and enjoying an active retirement, moving to a retirement village was a lifestyle change for David, but the range of activities on offer has ensured he’s still making the most of later life, he comments: “I enjoy playing bridge, indoor bowls and skittles, as well as using the gym and pool.”

The way of life at Inspired villages offers residents the opportunity to connect with other likeminded over 65s and make new friends, David adds: “There is certainly a good community spirit and friendliness which I particularly like about the Village.”

During lockdown, things have been different at the village, but colleagues have done all they can to ensure residents do not feel isolated, whilst self-isolating. David comments: “The staff have really done marvels at keeping things going, particularly regarding the food, with the setting up of the lunch service and village shop.  The development of activities through Zoom has also been fantastic and I’ve enjoyed choir and Pilates sessions.”

David’s daughter, Carolyn was also a big factor in his decision to move to the village, she comments: “My father had been helping care for his partner who suffered with dementia, after she passed away he needed to find somewhere more suited to his needs. I was conscious that during this time he had become quite frail due to lack of exercise, which had made him vulnerable as he also has very limited hearing. Moving in with either my brother or myself was not a sensible option due to stairs and our work commitments.

“I drove past the village and saw that there were rental properties, so went to look before taking dad. I was so impressed with the welcome I received, the beautiful surroundings and the opportunities available - I still feel that every time I visit him! He’s happy and also safe, which is wonderful. Everyone who works there is friendly and helpful and it’s always clean, plus the restaurant is second to none.

“The facilities to keep him fit and active are perfect and he is able to join in with as much or little as he needs. The sense of community is really lovely. Also, I’m now not worried about the future for him - renting has given him the freedom to do as he wants.”

James Cobb, Director of Inspired Villages, said: “We are all about providing great options for residents in order to suit their individual needs. Rental can be an excellent choice for some, since home ownership isn’t for everyone.

“For some people rental allows them to unlock their housing wealth to live the most spectacular later life with full financial security. Others may never have been on the housing ladder, but still want to access the lifestyle that our villages offer, and some see this as a great opportunity to make sure that the village is the right place for them.

“We want more people to embrace the lifestyle that is on offer at our retirement villages, with all of their positive health and wellbeing benefits. Providing flexible rental options is a great way to allow people to enjoy the best years of their life.”

*Source: https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/news/older-people-housing

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