A lot of the charmed generation still want a feeling of living on their own but with the back-up of knowing there is help if they need it
Once upon a time, reaching 50 was a signal to enter into old age. These days however, reaching 50 allows you entry to a very elite club. You become a very lucky member of what the marketing people have so beautifully named the ‘Charmed Generation.’
And how can being part of this audience help you choose the best home in which to plan your later years?
There are several reasons why the over 50 generation are wealthier than any other. For a start, they bought houses at a time when the average house was only three times the average annual salary, not six! Deposits were lower, mortgages easier to come by and fees were far less. But there were also other factors which are not enjoyed by any later generation including better pension schemes, free university and a general attitude that bills were for paying and debt was a dirty word.
So here you are, ready to be ‘charming’ well into your later years. But when the time comes to find a care home, knowing you have extra income and wealth compared to other generations may not make choosing a home any easier. With cost not necessarily being your deciding factor, how do you go about choosing the ideal home?
Beyond sheltered housing
A lot of the charmed generation still want a feeling of living on their own but with the back-up of knowing there is help if they need it. There are many sheltered housing locations across all areas of the UK and they are great if you are still able to take care of yourself on a daily basis. But if you are starting to feel challenged by day to day jobs such as washing up and keeping the house clean, then a care home may be better suited to you. At a care home there are staff available 24 hours a day. Meals are provided and there is nursing care as and when you need it. There are two main types of care home, one that just helps with your day to day tasks such as washing, dressing, eating and going to the toilet. Others provide more specialised care for issues such as dementia or mobility issues.
Firstly, if you have family routed around a particular town, it might make sense to choose a home there. Children and grandchildren are much more likely to visit if you make it easy for them? But more importantly, if you have lived somewhere all your life, you already have a common ground with a lot of the other residents. You will probably even know a few!
Level of care
Nobody knows what care you will need in the future, but if you have special requirements now, then you will need to ensure that your home is equipped to deal with them. If you have a degenerative illness, it is worth ensuring that this can be catered for in the future as well.
Most care homes encourage residents to bring their hobbies with them. However, hobbies such as golf may present more of a challenge. When you visit, check to see what their policy is on residents traveling to play a round of golf. It also might be worth asking if any of the other residents share your passion for golf, or any other hobby you might have.
Always visit first!
Most care homes will strongly encourage you to visit before you move in and it is a really good idea to spend time there. When arranging a visit, ask if you can maybe spend an afternoon there. This will give you a chance to get to know other residents and ask them about life at the home. You can also take a look at a few of the rooms and really get a feel for how much space you will have and what facilities are on offer. It is also a good chance to check out other small details that might not seem to matter much now, but will actually be important. How far are you allowed to personalise your room? What is a typical menu like and is there much choice?