Picture this: Sitting on your deck, reading after a trip to your library. You’ve had a go on the treadmill, a quick dip in the pool and watched a live show. A glass of wine during Happy Hour was fun and dinner is not far away. All this within ten metres of your luxury, zero maintenance unit. You are at home, content and relaxed, in your retirement village.
It’s been said that aging isn’t much to worry about unless in the case of a cheese or a wine … and if you are typical of today’s healthy aging population, then you can guarantee to be on this earth a little longer to enjoy the benefits of getting older and the opportunity to indulge in that beautiful Rhone Valley shiraz or tasty Swiss cheddar.
The research is undeniable: by 2050 the number of people over 65 will double1; a child born in 2011 has a one in three chance of living to her 100th birthday2 (has someone told the Queen?). At the dawn of the 20th century, men could hope to live to 57 if they were lucky, women to 60, and combined they made up only 4% of the population. Now people aged over 65 make up 12% – a literal explosion in numbers nothing short of a medical miracle! Science has basically doubled lifespans in the past century! Paul Irving, the chair of the Centre for the Future of Aging at US Milken Institute, says, “this is maybe the most extraordinary accomplishment in the history of mankind.”
Why choose retirement village living?
So how do we prepare to embrace this opportunity to age in a timelier manner? Perhaps at the age of 50, we need to radically rethink our perceptions about our later lives; plan to really capitalise on this unprecedented extension of life. As CS Lewis mentioned: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream,” and according to specialist lender to the retirement village sector, Senior Trust (NZ) that dream means that 12% of New Zealanders over the age of 75 are now choosing to live in retirement villages.
The reasons are simple: retirement village living satisfies some of our most basic human needs; shelter, security, company. Moreover, a quick Google search reveals psychological benefits such as peace of mind, a sense of belonging and purpose, retainment of independence with support on hand, and generalised acceptance of the aging process: you now have the chance to self-redefine as ‘young’. You have a stress-free property, access to social, exercise and medical facilities and, number one on the list of tools to fight dementia: you feel connected.
So if you are a ‘work in progress’, destined to be on this mortal coil a fair bit longer (for some lucky folk it could be donkey’s years), you may as well be comfortable. And let’s face it, today’s retirement villages are very, very nice. Most have the gee whizz wow factor, don’t cost an arm and a leg and you feel like you are on holiday in a gorgeous resort, 24/7. The paramount benefits of this type of retirement lifestyle are obvious. Would you take it on? If there’s a question to be asked it could only be: Why wouldn’t you?
1Office for National Statistics (UK)