Making new friends and being socially active in later life is key to good mental wellbeing[i] and a new survey* from retirement rentals brand, My Future Living, has revealed that almost three-quarters of residents say making new friends is the number one benefit of living in a retirement development.

73% have made new friends and 46% are more socially active since they moved to a retirement community. Over half (54%) said living in a retirement community has made a positive difference to their mental health, and 45% said it has improved their physical health.

The research also looked at the activities that residents rated as most important in their retirement with maintaining an active lifestyle coming out top (66%); followed by spending more time with family and friends; enjoying a slower pace of life and meeting people, socialising or having a sense of community.


Commenting on this research, Dominic Stead, Property Director at My Future Living said, “Living in a retirement development has many benefits but with many older people living alone, making friends and being sociable is a priority. Being surrounded by a community of similar aged people is a big attraction.

“Retirement developments are sociable places to live offering communal spaces and organised activities. With more people expected to be living alone in the future, retirement living could be an ideal option.”


The King’s Fund highlighted that by 2032 11.3 million people are expected to be living on their own, more than 40 per cent of all households, and the number of people over 85 living on their own is expected to grow from 573, 000 to 1.4 million[ii].

A third (33%) of My Future Living’s residents sold a property before deciding to move into a rented retirement home, the option to rent securely on an assured (lifetime) tenancy was what attracted them to rent rather than own. The security of an assured tenancy is very important to the majority (86%) of residents, whether they had rented or owned prior to moving in.

Other things that are important for those renting are less property maintenance and upkeep; location and the 24-hour emergency call system in each apartment.


Dominic adds, “Assured tenancies are a game changer as they offer the same security of tenure as home ownership which people want when they are older. We anticipate with growing awareness of the benefits of retirement living many more will choose this option in the future.”


One man who has discovered the benefits of retirement living is Dutch-born retired stockbroker, Diederik (Rik) Schmull, who rents a two-bedroom apartment at Homecove House, a retirement development in Westcliff-On-Sea in Essex.

Having previously owned a flat, Rik was attracted to renting in a retirement community because it’s flexible, so he could quickly move back to Amsterdam if he wanted. He also has an assured tenancy so he can remain for as long as he wants, providing he sticks to the terms of his agreement.

He says, “Having rented a few places on shorthold tenancies before moving here, I ended up having to move twice at short notice. I didn’t want that to happen again, especially as I’m getting older. Having the security of tenure that I can stay as long as I want is really reassuring.”

Rik enjoys being part of a community and has made friends with people in the development. He never feels isolated or alone, and highly recommends renting in a retirement community.


Rik says: “For me it’s worked out really well and I’m very happy. It’s all about independent living but with the reassurance there is help available should you need it,” he adds.

To find out more about renting a home in a retirement development visit:


* My Future Living’s latest annual customer satisfaction survey was carried out in August 2022 with customers asked about their thoughts on retirement living and renting, as well as how they feel about the service from My Future Living. There were 251 responses.