Women in retirement villages can live up to five years longer than the national average, research has found.
The study by the Cass Business School analysed 100 years of residents records from Whiteley Homes Trust, a retirement village in Surrey, which targets elderly people of limited means.
Professor Les Mayhew, professor of Statistics at Cass Business School, said: “It is well established that people classified as having a low socio-economic status tend to have a lower life expectancy than the average member of the population, but instead we found the opposite at Whiteley.
“One of our main results is that we show that female residents actually receive a longevity boost from retirement village life, and that life expectancy for males reaches a similar level to that of the general population.
“The undoubted lesson of Whiteley is that it is possible to create a socially stimulating and safe environment in which older people can enjoy a longer retirement in peace and comfort compared to that experienced by individuals of similar backgrounds in the general population.”
The report highlights the benefits of communal living in later life, including greater quality of life, reduced social isolation and greater independence.
Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, chief executive, International Longevity Centre – UK, said: “The dramatic increases in average life expectancies witnessed throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries is one of our society’s greatest achievements. However, this achievement has too often been overshadowed by the stark disparity in life expectancy between the highest and lowest socio-economic groups.
“As the residential care sector continues to respond to the needs of our rapidly ageing society, I hope that policymakers and the social care sector can take heart in knowing that, whilst socio-economic inequalities in life expectancy sadly still exist, the right housing with care community might be able to ameliorate the effects of deprivation and address those inequalities in later life.”