When it comes to getting older, the milestones that we all associate with ageing aren’t as set-in stone as they used to be. The time we decide to sell the family home and “right size” varies dramatically, there is no longer a set approach and it seems as though people are re-writing the rule book and for many different reasons.
Many of us find it hard to accept change, especially as we age. When it comes to our beloved family home that has seen precious memories, it can be one the hardest things to come to terms with. Often, people wait until they reach a critical point to make such a significant move, perhaps following a bereavement, a stroke, a heart attack or another serious health condition. This can leave you with an urgent need to find suitable accommodation at a point when you are most vulnerable.
For those who do leave it to a critical point, it is usually an extremely stressful period trying to find a home that meets the needs of people with reduced mobility or more specialist health and social care needs. With limited choice it is often difficult to find a home that meets aspirations as well as needs. Alongside the challenges of diminished options, there is a huge amount of admin that comes with buying and selling houses, for those in the position of care giver, it can add more stress to an already difficult situation.
Having a family home to sell, often means that there is little, if any, Local Authority support. The stretched social care budget is prioritised for those on the lowest income and with no property assets. This may mean that following a health crisis, a large section of society has extremely limited options.
From research that we have undertaken and observations, home buyers looking for the special home in later years, tend to fall in to three main categories:
Crisis movers who need to find alternative housing as soon as possible due to an emergency.
Lifestyle movers who are looking to right-size rather than down-size. In this scenario individuals may look to enhance their LIFEstyle, enabling a home that is easy to secure whilst they spend time abroad. Or simply want to live in a stunning location with lots of exciting options to enhance their LIFEstyle.
Planners find themselves struggling with the stairs in their current house due to arthritis or one of the many other chronic illnesses that are becoming more prolific as people are living longer. Planners tend to feel that their family home is too much to keep on top of, which results in them looking for a new property. Planners have time on their side, meaning they can look around for the home of their dreams.
It is evident from our experience with customers that crisis movers, selling a family home at speed, often means accepting below market value. Finding a home suitable that meets aspirations as well as needs, can be a real compromise – especially in a hurry. For those who have more time to plan, look around to find the right location, the outcomes are usually far more favourable as they have the time to sell their old home at full market price and decide on the right style of home. The circumstances for those who don’t have the luxury of this are usually far more controlled by the drivers of “need” rather than “want”.
Whilst a holistic approach to housing does provide assistance for those needing extra support in the comfort of their own home, it also creates an aspirational LIFEstyle for our ageing society. With residents from 55 to 100, there doesn’t have to be a correct time to retire or right-size.
On a LIFEstyle by ENGIE development there is a community hub which will often include a coffee shop, library and weekly clubs, activities and events. LIFEstyle by ENGIE is all about providing choice and meeting both need and aspiration – even in crisis scenarios. One of the first schemes is set in the delightful rural village of Walton in West Yorkshire and is a brilliant example of an innovative approach to providing homes for our older generation. A further development on the outskirts of Scarborough is planned to launch this year.