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Retirement Villages May Be Solution To Housing Pressure

12 December 2016

Retirement Villages May Be Solution To Housing Pressure


Metlifecare Retirement Living research shows resort-style villages
attractive to baby boomers


Once regarded as the end of the road and ‘God’s waiting room’, retirement villages have undergone a resurgence in recent years. Now one of New Zealand’s leading providers, Metlifecare says they are an effective way to relieve pressure on the housing market.

The “Metlifecare Retirement Living” nationwide research,* undertaken independently during November 2016, shows that more than 68% of Kiwis over 45 years old would consider moving to a retirement village at some stage in their life.

“This is good news for the younger generation who are struggling to find properties to buy and live in,” Metlifecare’s CEO Glen Sowry says.

“Development and construction of retirement villages is one of the most efficient ways of helping to increase the supply of houses. People who move from the family home free that up for a new generation while providing themselves with sufficient funds to enjoy a rich active lifestyle without the burden of home maintenance,” Sowry said.

Of the one in four surveyed who said they could see themselves in a retirement village in the next 20 years, the majority came from the Wellington region, followed by Northland.

While most questioned said they’d prefer to stay in their existing home for as long as they could, more than half the baby boomers perceived retirement villages as resort living for retirees or “the beginning of a new adventure”.

However, 86% of those surveyed said they were worried about the loss of control over their lives, while the idea of forced fun with others was a turn off to two thirds of respondents.

Sowry says this fear is exactly what Metlifecare has been dispelling with its focus on offering more freedom and independence to residents coupled with resort-style facilities, including swimming pools, spas, sports facilities, well-being clinics, and integration with their local area. “Each Metlifecare village is unique and designed to reflect the communities they are part of. There is no one size fits all here.”

Health, lifestyle and downsizing were primary motivators for moving to a village, with 86% citing the need for additional support or care as a consideration. Loneliness after a partner has died would influence one third of participants to move.

Retirement villages are very good options for those getting older as they offer security and support, Dr Michal Boyd, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, says.

“Places where people are able to live as they choose, have company and integration with the local community, with the security of support when they need it are ideal as we age.”

Sowry said, “It’s evident that people, particularly the baby boomers, are living active lives for longer and longer. With this in mind we have been creating retirement villages that allow this engaged generation to stay active and social by providing more of what they want.”

This is backed up by the research which shows 32% of respondents would considering moving for lifestyle and convenience, while a quarter were interested in the facilities offered and the community.

Marion Booth, a resident at Greenwich Gardens on Auckland’s North Shore, says moving to a Metlifecare village was the best thing she’d done.

“I had a preconceived idea that it would be all bowls, bingo and 5pm roasts, that the staff would be patronizing and call me dear. It couldn’t be further from my experience. I am treated as an individual and I love the independence of where I live. I’d do anything for the staff, they’re my family.”

Glen Sowry said he remembers retirement villages and rest homes from his younger days “as not always pleasant places. For my generation and older, there is a stigma attached to them that is miles away from the experience today.

“If you match the environment now with the benefits to the wider community, it makes sense that more people can see themselves moving for lifestyle choices,” he said.

“A Metlifecare village offers the boomers higher density housing with added benefits that people wouldn’t get living on their own in the family home.”

Ends

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