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One of the most important purchases you will ever make is buying your first home – but it might be argued that buying your final home has even more significance

As homeowners, when we reach retirement age, it becomes all the more important to consider the impact our homes, communities and surrounding environments have on our health – and that’s exactly what Debbie and Gary Johnson did when planning their own future.

After the coronavirus pandemic first hit the nation Debbie, 49, who is a care worker from Dorset, opted to change her NVQ assessor role to work on the frontline in a care home, and witnessed first-hand the issues around old age. “It’s important for us to plan for the future,” said Debbie. “Gary is recently retired, and my work made us both realise that we wanted to move somewhere that will suit us both for many years to come – our home for life.

Not only do we have any future mobility issues to consider, but we also discussed the importance of being within a close-knit community in case one of us became ill or passed away. After all, the pandemic has shown us all not to take our health for granted, so the reassurance of support was a key factor when looking at potential communities.”

It was not long after their decision to leave their mid-terraced home in Poole that the Johnson’s discovered Royale Heights in Beacon Hill, a luxury development from RoyaleLife – the nation’s leading bungalow provider for the over 45s. With Debbie being brought up in nearby Poole, the couple were confident that the area was not only peaceful, but had a number of terrific walks nearby, which would no doubt help keep both their physical – and mental – health in good check.

“We were the first residents here,” said Debbie, “but as more and more residents started to move in, we started to build some great friendships.”

Royale Heights has given the couple much more opportunity to be sociable, and – outside of lockdown – they often meet up for morning coffees or afternoon teas with other residents. “It feels like we’re one big family,” added Gary. “It’s wonderful.”

Newly retired after 40-years as a long-distance lorry driver, the community aspect of Royale Heights has been integral in helping Gary to make the transition from a life on the road to a slower way of living. But for Debbie, the reassurance of having trusting relationships with their neighbours has also been a key factor.

“I’ve always been brought up with a community feel – installed within me by my mum and dad. The pandemic highlighted how important it was to help one another out. We’ve been doing weekly shops for our elderly neighbours and checking in on them. That’s not to mention the afternoon teas, morning coffees and various celebrations we enjoyed together pre-outbreak.”

Moving to a bungalow with like-minded residents was the perfect way for Debbie and Gary to start the next phase of their life.

Opting to use RoyaleLife’s Home Part Exchange scheme, also meant that the couple could have some extra cash in the bank – something that will come in very useful with Gary’s retirement.

RoyaleLife’s part exchange scheme offers 100% of the current market value of your home. So, if your current home is valued at £450,000, and you purchase a bungalow for £300,000 that will leave you with £150,000 cash. Bungalows are also furnished with luxury items to make the move that much easier.

Robert Bull, CEO of RoyaleLife said, “Becoming part of an existing community can have a hugely positive impact on our health and is an attractive proposition for older people who may be faced with potential isolation after a move, especially if they have lost a loved one. It is already known that staying physically – and mentally – active in our later years can provide a wide range of benefits such as better cognitive function, improved emotional health and even a more restful sleep. That’s why we are proud to create community-focused developments with bungalows that can be made bespoke to your personal needs.”

For more information on RoyaleLife visit royalelife.com