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About Retirement Communities

_DSC4904Retirement Communities combine high quality housing options for older people with tailored support services. They allow residents to rent or own a property and to maintain their privacy and independence, with the reassurance of 24-hour on-site staff, communal facilities, and optional care and support as needed.

Retirement Communities may also be referred to as retirement villages, extra care housing, housing-with-care, assisted living, close care apartments, or independent living settings.

To be an ARCO registered Retirement Community under the ARCO Consumer Code, a Retirement Community must:

  • Be primarily for older people.
  • Offer self-contained accommodation that can be occupied with security of tenure.
  • Enable residents to take advantage of personal care that is delivered flexibly, usually by staff based on the premises.
  • Have staff available at the Retirement Community 24-hours a day.
  • Make domestic services available for residents.
  • Make meals available in restaurants or dining areas.
  • Offer communal facilities and encourage an active social programme in the community.
  • Aim to offer people a home for life and to enable them to ‘age in place’.

ARCO’s members use long term business models that go beyond traditional housebuilding, creating operational businesses and schemes that provide housing, care, hospitality and wellbeing services for our ageing population.

Please see our Resources for more information.

What can you expect when you move into a Retirement Community?

ARCO’s members want you to have the support you need, with community involvement and the privacy and freedom of your own home. As the care provided is flexible and personalised, couples can stay together if they have differing care needs, or even if only one partner requires support.

Retirement Communities often provide a variety of additional services so you can enjoy some pampering at the hair salon, meet people for coffee and snacks in the restaurant, join friends in the residents’ lounge and participate in anything on the activities programme that appeals to you and suits your personal interests and abilities.

You will belong to a supportive and friendly community, with your own private home and access to many communal facilities that might include a residents’ lounge, restaurant, hair salon, gardens, swimming pool, and gym.

Maintaining independence

ARCO’s members believe in treating everyone as an individual and try to offer choice and flexibility in their services. This is why they can offer care to couples with differing needs, and adapt the support provided to you to suit your changing circumstances, whether permanent or temporary. As well as the reassurance of a 24-hour on-site emergency call system and CCTV security, Retirement Community staff are available for you around the clock. Retirement Communities also offer a laundry and housekeeping service, taking a number of potentially difficult chores out of your life.

In this way, you can be secure in the knowledge that whether you just need a helping hand or personal care, all your needs for daily life can be taken care of by dedicated and professionally qualified staff. Retirement Communities are able to offer the same level of care and support as a traditional care home – all tailored towards each individual. The staff will consult you thoroughly to develop your personal care plan to help maintain life skills and ensure that all of your personal needs are addressed.

You can find out more about what it’s like to live in a Retirement Community by clicking on the case studies below, or by reading What is a Retirement Community?, which provides further information on what a Retirement Community is, what the costs of living in a Retirement Community may be, as well as a more general overview of the sector itself.


Living in a Retirement Community has not only changed Iris’ life, it has changed her as a person too. “I have never been in contact with so many people socially as I am now,” she said.



“We have plenty of visitors and every one of them has been knocked out by this place,” said Teresa. “It’s the perfect place for a new start. You can’t help but make friends, it happens automatically.”



Richard believes it is important to keep older people active.  “I definitely feel better for it. I know I do,” he says.


View more Case Studies

It’s a beautiful place to live but it’s the companionship which is the best part. A lot of people say they’ve come to start a new life and that’s how it feels. No one is old.

Patrick, Warwickshire

I don’t have to worry about a thing being here. It’s reassuring to know there is help at hand but you are free to live your own life with no pressure, and to come and go as you please. I just love it here.

Catherine, Oxfordshire

I’m still very independent but knowing the support is here is reassuring.

Kathleen, Lincolnshire

We’re always quick to recommend life in a Retirement Community. In fact the only advice we give is not to leave it too late. There’s so much to enjoy it would be a shame to miss out. You can’t beat it. We’ve got the lot.

Mike and Pauline, Taunton

I’ve got the best of two worlds really. If I was here and Alice was in a nursing home elsewhere we would both be worried and lonely. We are together in the best possible way.

Derek lives in an apartment, while wife Alice receives the care she needs in the Retirement Community’s nursing home.