Tell us about your work on Wellbeing by Rangeford Villages
I was asked to establish a fully integrated, holistic fitness and wellbeing concept for Rangeford Villages, the later living specialists. The idea was to weave a wellness culture into the fabric of village life by incorporating movement, rest and relaxation, nutrition, connectedness, purpose and environment.
I worked with the executive team to develop four foundations of wellbeing to form the basis of the new concept. Wellbeing is defined as being happy, healthy and comfortable and we believe that every resident should have their emotional, physical and mental needs supported while living at the village.
The Four Foundations have been carefully selected to provide an all-encompassing approach to living a happy, healthy and thriving life and they are: purpose – how residents choose to fill their days; health – how they stay physically and mentally well; community – how residents stay connected; environment – how they feel a sense of security.
To support these foundations, we developed a wellbeing consultation for residents to participate in if they choose and incorporated the concept into every aspect of the village to holistically link all areas of the facilities, including the spa, gym, fitness classes, gardens, lawn games, hair salon, treatments, lounges, restaurant and bar, coffee shop and hobby spaces.
What facilities and programmes are on offer?
One example, Wadswick Green’s social hub – known as The Pavilion – is home to the residents’ spa with treatment rooms, a gym, swimming pool including sauna and steamroom and hair salon. Residents also have access to a personal trainer, with many free classes available for them to join and the team can provide access to the best local practitioners in their field, such as sleep therapists, nutritionists, chiropodists, osteopaths, and physiotherapists if required.
There’s also an array of activities, including walking clubs, a prayer group, knitting circle, golf, Zumba, arts and crafts, scrabble, bridge and book clubs.
Residents can choose to be as relaxed or as active as they please and are encouraged to set up and lead their own social groups and clubs.
Is there evidence that living in these types of communities improves quality of life?
The Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) surveyed 799 current residents from 81 different retirement communities in the UK and found that the majority (55 per cent) said their quality of life was higher than it had been a year previously – four times more than for people from the same age group who didn’t live as part of retirement community.
The survey found that residents also remained healthier for longer, were more active, felt a greater sense of security, and reported less loneliness. Residents also appeared 2-5 times more likely than non-residents to be participating in an array of activities such as social events, trying new activities, getting together with friends, eating with other people and exercising.
Are any of the health benefits of the wellbeing programme monitored?
There are huge health benefits for residents when it comes to getting involved with the wellbeing programme. The NHS found strong evidence that older people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia, even if it is as little as 150 minutes of moderate activity every week.
Through our wellbeing programme, we aim to gently encourage residents to get active by offering them all the activities and support they need, right from their doorstep. We’ll be monitoring their progress along the way, so they can choose to see how beneficial it is to them.
Does having improved wellbeing facilities increase the value of the real estate?
Interestingly, buying a home in a retirement development with on-site facilities does improve their value. In 2017, an analysis was undertaken by JLL into the housing with care market, managed by members of ARCO over the past 22 years.
Housing with care refers to communities where support facilities are available on-site 24 hours a day, with a variety of facilities to help encourage an active and independent lifestyle. It was reported that 80 per cent of re-sales in this market increase in value, with an annual average price growth of 6 per cent per annum.
What other projects are you working on that involve wellness?
Having worked in the Wellbeing Sector for 20 years, I help companies weave wellbeing into their culture for employees and/or customers.
I have a passion for helping people have happy, healthy work lives by taking ownership of their own wellbeing and provide bespoke support to companies seeking to enhance their wellbeing offering. I also work as a wellbeing coach and consultant and am developing courses to support employees in the workplace with their wellbeing.