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Lighter living INDOORS AND OUTDOORS Flat Living interviewed Keith Edgar to get the low down on retirement flats.


WHY DO PEOPLE BUY RETIREMENT FLATS?


For a number of reasons, but generally to enjoy independent living - your age is only a number on your birth certificate, it doesn’t mean you want to stop enjoying life. Retirement properties offer you the benefit of owning your own property without the difficulties that go with it. People often want to move to be nearer to family, and this rolled up with being able to meet and mix with other people of similar age appeals to many.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INDEPENDENT LIVING?


One of the main things is the reassurance that there are people around you 24/7, says Peverel Retirement managing director Keith Edgar. “Most retirement developments employ a house manager to run the property between 9am and 5pm,” he says, “and 24 hour response systems offer the comfort of assistance from highly trained emergency staff who are able to handle an array of circumstances like illness or injury.” Also available are residents’ lounges for meeting with friends, coffee


mornings or other social events. Gardens and grounds are often available and are maintained by site staff, for people to enjoy without the workload. Other benefits include communal laundry, lift, car park and a guest suite for friends and family to enjoy when they visit. Edgar adds retirement home ownership also offers the benefit of known costs, rather than having to finance repairs and maintenance as and when they occur. “The monthly service charge payments smooth out these costs,” he explains. “This is very important when, as is the case in the current economic climate, many savings plans are not stretching as far as they were.”


WHAT DOES THE HOUSE MANAGER DO?


The house manager enhances the quality of residents’ lives at the same time as successfully and professionally managing and


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maintaining the development. A house manager offers empathy, discipline, consistency and a structured approach to handling the on-going needs of the development. Edgar describes house managers as, “the unsung heroes of everything retirement properties offer”.


WHAT DO SERVICE CHARGES INCLUDE?


Service charges are collected to pay for the general day to day maintenance and upkeep of the property. The money is collected from each resident and pays for insuring the block, maintenance, gardening and running the communal areas as well as paying for your house manager. “Managing a retirement development is like running a small business,” says Edgar. “Not everyone sees the work that goes into health & safety, book keeping and general business management, but the development would not be able to function without them.” The development’s manager is also responsible for collecting


reserve funds, which are then set aside for larger jobs like roof repairs, lift repairs and resurfacing driveways. Budgets are prepared and distributed to each resident, providing a summary of how the money is being spent. The guest suite could be used to raise revenue for your development, so when friends and family use the facility, the payment goes into the development’s funds which helps to keep residents’ service charges down.


WHAT ASSISTANCE IS PROVIDED FOR EMERGENCIES?


Most retirement developments offer a 24/7 response facility, like CarelineUK, that can handle any emergency situation. At the time of an event the call handler has available an emergency contact list for each resident which will include friends and family members as well as details of local hotels and vets, in case of extreme emergencies.


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