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Demand for retirement communities is growing, finds survey

Words: Laura Edgar
Retirement communities / iStock

A survey of UK retirement community operators indicates that there has been a ‘very significant’ increase in the number of older people enquiring about and moving to retirement communities.

This includes retirement villages and extra care housing.

The Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) surveyed its members, which comprise 27 not-for-profit and private operators, with 85 per cent indicating that sales and letting in the last month were higher than in the same period in 2019. Of the respondents, 55 per cent indicate that sales and lettings are at least 30 per cent higher than in 2019, with 25 per cent reporting that sales and lettings are as much as 50 per cent higher.

According to the survey, 65 per cent of operators believe that the most common drivers of the increase in demand for retirement communities are a desire for more company and social interaction, and a realisation that the homes they were living in were no longer suitable for them. In addition, 60 per cent suggest that moving to a retirement community was driven because people wanted access to a support network in case of another period of lockdown to control Covid-19.

The retirement community has asked the government to create a Housing-with-Care Task Force to help to unlock barriers to the expansion of the sector.

Michael Voges, executive director of ARCO, said: “These figures confirm a trend our members have been observing for a long time: there is a huge gap in the UK market for aspirational living options combining both social interaction and optional support services. An ever-growing number of older people are reviewing their housing, support and care needs in the face of the current pandemic, and are seeking out retirement communities that enable them to live independently for as long as possible.

Image credit | iStock