February 2020

Redefining later living

With the number of people aged over 65 set to double in the next 20 years, we need to redefine ageing so that these older people can live happy, healthy and connected lives

An Inspired Villages Group retirement community

Life expectancy in the UK has doubled since the mid-19th century but maintaining a good quality of life during older age can be a challenge for many and loneliness has become a serious issue.

A lack of suitable homes that promote social interaction is exacerbating the problem. There are around 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in England alone. This isolation has a serious impact on their health and happiness and research has shown they are more likely to develop dementia than the rest of the population.

At Legal & General we are investing for the long term in revolutionary later living communities that are tailored to the lifestyles of the over-65s and are making a real difference. We are already operating six later living villages in rural and suburban locations in Cheshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Devon and West Sussex through Inspired Villages, a developer and operator of later living accommodation that we established in 2017.

Urban communities

We’ve also established Guild Living, a developer and operator, to create three urban villages in Bath, Walton-on-Thames and Epsom. Our aim is to create 3,000 homes in town centres in the next five years. Guild Living will offer the over-65s the chance to be close to all the amenities that towns have to offer, while bringing the spending power of the older generation to our under-pressure high streets.

Inspired Villages and Guild Living offer high-quality homes centred around wellness facilities, providing a holistic approach to wellbeing, encouraging mental, physical and social activation.

Guild Living is focused on improving the way we age, conducting an extensive programme of academic research to reshape the way we build, live and flourish within communities. It is working closely with Professor Malcolm Johnson from the University of Bath, whose work on the Channel 4 series Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds demonstrated the positive impact that contact with young people could have on residents.

Internationally, we have seen countless examples of how active, community-focused living can change people’s lives. Over 5% of over-65s in the US, New Zealand and Australia now opt to live in later living communities. In the UK, it is only 0.6%. ”

Phil Bayliss,
CEO of Later Living

Phil Bayliss, CEO of Later Living, says: “Internationally, we have seen countless examples of how active, community-focused living can change people’s lives. Over 5% of over-65s in the US, New Zealand and Australia now opt to live in later living communities. In the UK, it is only 0.6%. We have a wonderful opportunity to create vibrant, inclusive communities enabling each retiree to live their best life.”

Wider benefits

Inspired Villages and Guild Living sites will be a huge benefit to residents and bring wider benefits for the whole community. They will provide jobs ranging from those in construction to long-term operations such as managers, carers, physiotherapists and maintenance personnel.

The spending power of the older generation is sometimes overlooked but Guild Living’s strategy of building urban later life villages offers policymakers a chance to breathe new life into ailing town centres. According to SAGA and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the over-50s account for 47% of UK consumer spending, representing £320 billion a year. Government policy recommendations have already suggested that shops should be made age-friendly to encourage local spending.

The Office for National Statistics’ Family Spending Report found that older households were major consumers of goods and services, highlighting their importance to healthy economies. The creation of 300-apartment later living communities in the centres of towns like Walton-on-Thames is likely to have a huge impact.

Freeing up housing

Homeowners over the age of 50 currently hold 75% of the UK’s housing wealth, according to research from Savills. Meanwhile, young people today are half as likely to get on the housing ladder by the age of 22 as they were 20 years ago. Our villages provide suitable accommodation so that older people can downsize, freeing up their larger properties for families and getting the housing chain moving again.

Research from Legal & General and the CEBR found that by 2021 there will be 3.4 million households aged 55 and over looking to downsize in the future. The total housing wealth owned by these ‘last time buyers’ will be around £1.2 trillion. Providing suitable accommodation for these people could make a huge contribution to tackling the housing crisis, freeing up family homes close to schools, balancing intergenerational inequality and boosting the UK economy.

It will also help them live the kind of connected lifestyle most of us hope for in retirement. Eugene Marchese, Design and Innovation Director at Guild Living, says: “When it comes to planning better cities for the future, there’s a simple rule: connect people to places, people to transport and people to people. Increasing social participation and social connectedness is proven to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of older adults. This is also a central ideology for better ageing.”

An Inspired Villages Group retirement community
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