FRIENDLY neighbours are valued more highly than any financial gain when downsizing into a retirement property.


The Express reports that living near people who will “pass the time of day”, say “hello” or just stop for a quick chat is rated as one of most important factors of a successful move by the over-55s, found a new survey.

It is ranked higher than any money made on selling a house and the benefit translates to a 30 per cent drop in the number of hours of paid care needed. Fifty-eight per cent of those aged 60-plus are looking to downsize while 10.3 million households are expected to be headed by someone over 65 by 2039.

Comic Les Dawson celebrated the spirit of chatty neighbours in his TV sketches with Roy Barraclough as characters Cissie and Ada. The importance of neighbourly goodwill can also be preferable to living with family, where the elderly may feel a burden and put a strain on relationships.

Independence to make decisions was also ranked highly as a key contributor to feelings of happiness in retirement. Those surveyed want to continue to live a normal life as before, and the reduction in bills was appealing. Separate analysis also found that hours of paid care fall by 29.6 cent when comparing the national average in retirement communities. Over 65s receiving home care are visited for an average 7.1 hours per week.

Anchor, retirement home specialists, which commissioned the survey found five hours’ care was the average in retirement homes analysed. Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of the not-for-profit group, stressed the importance for the elderly of friendly neighbours.

She said: “In our communities in which everyone is of similar age and like-mind, small acts of kindness have become part of the social framework and mean the world to an older person.”

Meanwhile, nine million Britons will be helping out others this festive season, the Royal Voluntary Service found. More than 50 million hours will be spent helping lonely, elderly neighbours.

Chief executive Catherine Johnstone said the survey was heartwarming, adding: “The festive period can be a very difficult time for many people. “We believe more can be done in the community to help combat loneliness and isolation among older people, not just at Christmas, but all year round.”

(Story source: The Express)

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