Not for profit housing and care provider Anchor has revealed that living with neighbours who will ‘pass the time of day’ is one of the most significant contributors to happiness in retirement.
The survey found that good neighbours in retirement villages also helped reduced domiciliary care by almost 30%.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor, said: “Although our retirement villages’ on-site home care teams are an integral part of what we offer, we have found that residents help each other with small day-to-day tasks which may otherwise be outsourced to a carer.
“Acts of neighbourly goodwill such as stopping by for a chat, or offering to help with feeding a pet or watering plants if a neighbour is going on holiday, may no longer be so commonplace in wider society.
“However, in our communities in which everyone is of similar age and like-mind, these small acts of kindness have become part of the social framework and mean the world to an older person, who may otherwise have to rely upon professional help for small chores or companionship.”
The research reveals that over 65s receiving home care are visited by carers for an average of 7.1 hours per week. By contrast, residents at Anchor’s retirement villages, where the average age is 81, received an average of five hours of care per week.
Alison Frankel, 77, resident at Anchor’s Bishopstoke Park, said: “In my previous home, which I lived in for 22 and half years, I hardly knew my neighbours. I don’t do any online social media or emailing, so face to face contact is my way of socialising.
“I always pass the time of day with neighbours I pass in the grounds or one of the corridors and make a particular point of doing so with those living with the first stages of dementia. Having a chat with a neighbour is so important for keeping the mind active.
“I look after my neighbour’s pets whilst they are on holiday and it’s nice to know that we live in a community in which there is a neighbourly sense of trust and care – we all help each other out.”