Still on my cloud surfing trip and riding on the wave created by Ronnie Bennett, “Time Goes By” blog roll. Thanks again Ronnie. This time I have landed on a really interesting blog by Warren Flick which you can find by clicking on this “Laterlivingblog“.
What first caught my eye was a post about a trip Warren made through the high plains. You can find the story in the archive for April 09, 2015. It has some great photos that show the huge expanse that is covered by the great plains area and the flatness and dryness of the landscape. Warren’s writing makes the trip really come to life and probably saves me from following in his footsteps :-). I’m sure my Texas friend John Tripplehorn would be interested to read his blog and particularly his comments about cowboys and cattle drives.
Another post which I found even more interesting was about a retirement community in Florida called The Villages. You can find it in the archive February 15, 2015. It was particularly interesting to me because I have spent most of my working life building retirement housing and pioneered the idea of retirement villages in the UK. I have been to Florida many times but not found this particular village.
The Villages complex that Warren describes, is home to 110,000 older people and covers an areas of 35 square miles. His post describes it very well so I won’t repeat it here, but what it does show is that many older people in America have many more opportunities for living in retirement than we have in the UK.
When I started working in retirement housing, a typical sheltered housing scheme had between 30 and 40 flats. Anything bigger than that was regarded, particularly by Social Services Departments, as something of a ghetto for older people. It took us many years to edge the numbers up from 30 to 40 to 50, but it wasn’t until we built our first retirement village in 1998 at Berryhill in Stoke on Trent that we managed to build our first larger scheme which was 148 flats. At the time we thought that this was enormous and there was only one other scheme of that size in the UK. Whilst at the ExtraCare Charitable Trust we subsequently went on to build many more villages, the largest of which so far is at Lark Hill Village in Nottingham which is over 300 flats and bungalows.
In spite of their noted success, retirement villages as a concept has still not really taken off in the UK and certainly nobody has been adventurous enough to build retirement communities on the scale that are built in the USA. With the desperate shortage of housing that exists in the UK, maybe someone sooner or later will take this bold step.
My thanks to Warren Flick for this insight into “The Villages in Florida” which you can find by clicking here .