Dexterity, mobility and sociability are key factors when preparing for retirement
There are three things to remember when preparing for your own retirement: dexterity, mobility and sociability. Here's how to plan for older, older age
It is tempting to see retirement as a fixed state of being which has a fixed set of needs. However, in reality, retirement is a journey which can span many years, even decades, and requires many tweaks and adjustments along the way. All of which means that when you are planning for retirement, you really need to consider not only what will meet your needs right now, but also what will meet your needs when you are older.
There are three main things to consider. The first is your dexterity. While you may still be able to do everything you used to at the moment, there may come a time when small buttons, fiddly levers and zips are too hard to handle.
So choose a flat with room for a dishwasher, handles in the bathroom and enough space to get round the bed so that you can make it with ease. Some retirement homes also offer the option of upgrading to an assisted living package when you need it, where on-site carers will help you wash and get dressed each morning.
The next thing to consider is your mobility. While you might be able to drive a car now, and walk long distances with ease, as you get older you may find that neither of these are possible.
So make sure you choose a retirement home which is close enough to local amenities so that you can either walk or drive a mobility scooter there without effort. As well as proximity, you need wide flat pavements, safe places to cross the road and well-lit paths so you can see where you are going.
The third issue is your sociability. Experts agree that the key to staying mentally alert is interacting with other people, so find a retirement property that enables you do this in the simplest possible way. Is there a communal lounge?
If so, how near is it to your flat, and will the trip involve stairs? Are there social activities on offer than you can participate in, no matter how old you get? Games such as Scrabble, bridge and whist are a great way to spend time with others while exercising the brain.
At the very least, try to bag a room with a great view for those times when staying put in a chair becomes the best option.
Amanda Tomlinson, the marketing manager at Retirementmove, the UK’s specialist national property agents for retired living, says: “It is very important to think about all this now, because you want to make this your last move.
"You don’t want to move somewhere when you are 65 and then, at 75, suddenly think, ‘Oh no, I can’t actually walk to a shop now’. Think ahead and make sure that the facilities you are going to need over the next 10 to 15 years, whether that is a doctor within 20 yards or whatever it might be, are available where you are moving to. Because you really don’t want to go through the rigmarole of moving twice.”