CEO Janna Voloshin visited a number of UK aged care homes during her UK research tour.

Learning from Others: Research Tour to the UK – Part 2

* 6 March 2023 *

Last issue, we brought you the first part of CEO, Janna Voloshin’s UK research tour with Sage. This time, Janna talks about visits to retirement villages in the south of England.

The focus for this part of our tour was on Retirement Living.

We had the opportunity to visit two luxury retirement villages.

Audley is a private provider that has been developing and managing retirement living options for over 12 years. They were one of the first to recognise the market demand for high quality retirement living, rather than the residential aged care that is provided through social support programs.

Their retirement communities provides 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with on site restaurants, spa, pool etc, providing integrated retirement with three elements: housing, lifestyle choices and care options provided by home care services. This is very similar to Australian retirements villages, except that many are located in stunning refurbished manor houses.

This really is the top end of luxury with Audley Cooper’s Hill, a stone’s throw from Windsor costing approx $1.3M to $2.8M plus management fees.

Audley Sunningdale Park (left column bottom row) is a little further outside London close to Ascot and prices are similar.
There is a strong belief that this style of living extends independence as residents have the advantage of living in their own home but within a community and with easy access to home care services.

While the villages we looked at are aimed at the more wealthy buyers, this provider is now investing in retirement living for the roughly 77% in the mid-tier, people who own their own home and want to downsize. These properties provide smaller and more affordable apartments with lower management fees and high deferred costs.

As a result of the research we carried out at Vasey RSL Care in 2021 regarding the Victorian ex-service community’s housing preferences, we will be doing further research into the retirement village concept for our community here.

The day was rounded out with a networking event with UK aged care providers, held at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. My cricket knowledge moved from extremely low to not quite as low and I was certainly impressed with the aura of the place and the reverence exhibited by my fellow tour members (pictured).

The following day we headed west to Bristol to visit the St Monica Trust Chocolate Quarter. (Below and below left).
This is a new integrated living community with 136 retirement apartments and 93 residential aged care rooms over 3 levels. Each level has around 30 rooms, one being the memory support unit, one low care and one high care. Each of these is divided into two parts so that each group of 15 rooms has their own dining room and lounge.

What makes this different is the concept of providing general facilities such as movies, restaurants, gym, pool, spa, hair salons, barbers, office space, a large medical centre and a number of function rooms, within the integrated community. Facilities can be used by those from outside through membership while aged care and retirement residents have them included in their management fees.

Instead of separating retirement and aged care from the community, they have taken a decommissioned chocolate factory located a little way outside Bristol, upgraded and refurbished it to create a vibrant multi-aged environment. Hire of office space and function rooms contributes about a third of their income.

Again, as retirement apartment residents are able to live independently while in a community, with home care services readily available to them, their need for residential aged care appears to be postponed.

Returning to London for the evening, we were privileged to have dinner at the Tower of London followed by the key ceremony on the grounds.

We were hosted by Standards Wise International and CommonAge. Standards Wise International is an industry leading champion of standards and quality compliance working to improve outcomes for people around the world, especially those with fewer resources who are ageing, disadvantaged to subject to exploitation.

CommonAge was officially launched here in Melbourne in 2013 and works to advance the interests of older people throughout the Commonwealth.

We were welcomed by the President of CommonAge, an infantry officer in the British Army who had commanded an armoured battle group through the first Gulf War. It was particularly interesting to me to be able to meet with British veterans and to see how much there is in common between them and Australian veterans.


Next time: Janna visits veteran-specific support services in England and Scotland.


Read Part 1