The festive season brings with it a renewed focus on entertaining family and friends; immediate and extended relatives decamping to enjoy the celebrations. The December build-up is an exciting time for many, but for those living alone it can also lead to increased feelings of isolation – thrown into sharp relief against the buzz of wider activities and events.
Loneliness can hit at any time, it’s not just a symptom of retirement, but it’s certainly a serious issue in older age.
For those considering downsizing, one of the key concerns is that it will lead to separation from relatives – in particular, that a smaller property in a different area will make it harder to invite family over and host for the big day. Of course, some who have downsized may not have any close family, meaning they will rely even more on local networks to provide some company and support.
Downsizing shouldn’t change the way people celebrate Christmas, or entertain throughout the year, and this is true when it comes to retirement villages. In fact, research from the International Longevity Centre has shown that living in a retirement village not only promotes a better quality of life, it can also reduce feelings of isolation. Key to this is the benefit that companionship alongside a community of like-minded people can bring. This companionship also goes beyond Christmas; it’s constant and there whenever needed.
Properties are often spacious enough to have people to stay, but if more space is needed there are guest suites available to ensure all can visit.
And of course for those that don’t want to cook, there is the welcome option of entertaining in the restaurant instead. Some will also host Christmas events and fairs – at Audley Villages, we do this every year and invite members of the local community to spend an afternoon enjoying mince pies and mulled wine while browsing a range of stalls.
It can be all too easy to assume that, when approaching retirement and considering moving from the family home, social interaction and key celebrations like Christmas will be changed for the worse – but that’s simply not the case.
Retirement can be an opportunity to spend more time doing the things you enjoy and perhaps even making new acquaintances. In the right environment, it’s certainly not a time to be lonely.
Find out more about our Christmas Fairs taking place until 8th December at all Audley villages. If you can't make it along to a Christmas Fair, come along for lunch or dinner, and experience first hand how it feels to live in an Audley village.