This blog follows on from “Bungalow Mindset” which you can find by clicking on “Retirement Housing” in the TOPICS LIST.
A survey by Halifax Building Society recently found that bungalows were the most popular image of a home in retirement. It has been my experience too, in the thirty years of building and managing retirement housing, that the survey accurately reflects people’s first thoughts IF they are forced to move. But, is it the right choice or the ONLY choice.
Certainly bungalows enshrine some real retirement aspirations – it’s independent housing with light, no stairs, less rooms to clean and usually a small garden to maintain. It is a good option but a relatively expensive one, given the high value of land. It is a “rocking chair on the porch” image of retirement, that sounds good to start with until you consider living alone in a climate too cold for all year round outdoor living.
Bungalows are bound to be the preferred choice, when the alternative is downsizing to a small flat in a high-rise block where the lifts break down and the neighbours above you have noisy kids. Worse still is the dreaded move to a single bedroom in residential care. This is not necessarily the reality of retirement flats or of all residential care but it is the image of housing in later life most older people have experience of.
We need to lift retirement housing to a new level which embraces the aspirational bungalow but does not thoughtlessly copy it.
Level access, high space standards, good outlook and external private space can all be achieved on and off the ground in HAPPI standard retirement housing. Equally importantly you can still sit on your porch at times but also have the option of company and support from like-minded neighbours as you choose.
I was writing about this subject over a year ago, you can see the post “Move to a smaller house” by clicking in the ARCHIVE on January 2012.