If you want to maintain your independence as you get older and are thinking about downsizing into specialist retirement property, there is a key choice that you have to make. Do you want to move to a retirement property with only limited on-site services or support or would a development offering additional services, including care when and if you might need it, suit you better?
Many retirement developments are managed by a part-time warden who will make sure the building is maintained and can help with information and advice. In addition, there will usually be an emergency call system in your own property that will connect you to an off-site call centre that will try and find someone local to call round and help you if you have a problem.
On the other hand, developments that offer additional services will often have someone on site 24hours a day to respond to emergency calls and organise any help that you might need immediately. They can also offer household assistance or even care services using staff that you are familiar with. Some developments, like Honeybourne Gate in Cheltenham, will also offer on-site communal facilities such as a residents' lounge, guest suite, laundry and restaurant, not to mention a pool, gym, hairdressers and movie room.
Of course, additional facilities and on-site staff need to be paid for, so the service charge in a development with these extra services will be higher than in a development that offers more limited facilities. So, when visiting retirement property don't just look at the apartment or bungalow but be sure to ask for a description of what staff, services, communal facilities and emergency response arrangements are available and make sure that what is on offer suits you and your budget and will meet your needs in the years ahead.
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