New research by Girlings Retirement Rentals found that the majority of people (88%) that had moved to a retirement development had made new friends, with a third (33%) saying they are now more socially active since moving in.

The Girlings 2019 Retirement Living research report* asked Girlings’ customers and social media followers their views on renting in a specialist retirement development.

The research revealed that the communal areas, which allow people to socialise with other residents, are one of the main benefits to living in a retirement development. Many residents also take part in social activities such as coffee mornings, quiz nights, fish and chip suppers and outings/day trips.

When it comes to their biggest concerns for retirement, the top answer from 64% of respondents was good health, with over a quarter (27%) also saying they were concerned about being lonely.

The Campaign to End Loneliness[i], a UK based campaign group has highlighted that lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.

Another study earlier this year by the University of Texas[ii] in the USA found that interacting with people is shown to keep older adults more active and improve their wellbeing.

The survey also revealed other benefits of living in a retirement development including no longer having the burden of property maintenance, the feeling of security and being able to just lock up and leave when going away and the 24 hour Careline and an onsite manager.

One Southport couple that are benefitting from retirement living are Pauline and David Harpin. In December 2018 they moved into a retirement apartment in Homeport House in Southport after moving back from Spain where they had lived for the last 21 years.

After an online search Pauline and David found a Girlings property in a retirement development in their hometown of Southport in a location they knew well where they soon settled in.

The apartment was available on an assured tenancy which was a big factor in the decision, as it means they can stay as long as they like.

David says, “We’ve been very happy since we moved in, the flat is plenty big enough for us – and as neither of us is in great health, the lift up to the first floor is very useful. There are regular coffee mornings in the communal lounge and we’ve met lots of nice people.”

Pauline says, “It was a big move and of course it has taken some getting used to, but I wouldn’t change a thing now. Everyone we’ve met at Homeport House has been lovely and the services available in the retirement development give us great peace of mind.

“We find it reassuring that there’s an onsite manager on hand, and I have a bit more freedom now that David has access to the 24 hour careline in the apartment as I’m not as worried about leaving him. Our family find it reassuring that we have these backups in place too.

“We’re so glad we made the move back to the UK. We’re very happy in our new apartment, it’s stress-free living!”

Girlings have several apartments available to rent in Homeport House in Southport from £575 a month.

Most Girlings’ developments have communal lounges and gardens, and many organise weekly social activities such as coffee mornings, bingo and film nights which residents may opt to participate in. An onsite manager ensures the smooth day to day running of the development and there is a 24-hour Emergency careline in all apartments.

* Girlings 2019 Retirement Living research was carried out by Girlings in summer 2019 and had 369 respondents. 71% of responders were Girlings tenants.

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