Helping relatives regain their freedom

This post has been produced in partnership with McCarthy & Stone

When my Gran was alive and much younger, she always said that when she got to a certain age – I think it may have been about 65 – she wanted us just to shove her off a cliff. Of course 65 came around and she changed her mind. Turns out that 65 isn’t terribly old after all. In fact, once you reach that hallowed retirement age, life can be pretty sweet, once you get into the swing of it.

Actually retiring though can be a tricky process for some people. Think about it for a minute. Can you even imagine having no work to do at all ever? Personally I think I would find that a bit of a shock. Since the age of 17 I’ve had the responsibility of being a parent and work of some form or another, and suddenly one day being retired and not having to earn a living… I’m not sure I would know what to do with myself.

If a member of your family is approaching retirement age then, chances are that they could do with some support to help them with the transition and to make sure they make the most of their new found freedom. This could be as simple as encouraging them to join local clubs or societies, helping them discover what’s going on in their local area, making sure you visit on a regular basis or helping them through the process of downsizing or choosing a retirement property if that’s on the cards.

Living space

First up then – what exactly is a retirement home? It’s not, as you might imagine, some sort of hospital style Dickensian building, with individual rooms and a deserted communal living area. We’re talking actual apartments here, so it has all the regular comforts anyone would expect. Moving to a purpose built retirement property doesn’t mean you have to start wearing an emergency buzzer around your neck and setting your watch by Homes Under The Hammer.

With a wide range of flats for sale, there are plenty of retirement properties across the country, so finding the right area is not a problem either. This is one of the biggest changes in retirement, as a lot of people don’t want the effort or expense of maintaining a large family home any more, but still want freedom, independence and privacy.


Once children have grown up and moved away though, having your own home can often be lonely, even when in a couple, so keeping busy is an important aspect of retirement living. Making friends is tough at any age, but a purpose built retirement property at least means your loved ones will be housed next to like-minded individuals, meaning it should be easier to get to know people and find common interests.

Retirement activities


Finally, don’t forget to visit! While freedom and independence are important, this doesn’t mean retired relatives want to be removed from family life. In fact, many properties, such as those from McCarthy and Stone, allow families to stay in their own apartment when visiting.

This means that parents or grandparents don’t need to worry about keeping a large home just so that there is space for when the family come to stay and visitors can maintain their own little bit of privacy too – the best of both worlds. With emotional and mental support for elderly people key in terms of quality of life, having the facilities to welcome guests is vital.


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