Retirement communities may be the key to a longer, healthier and happier retirement. That’s the finding from a 2017 English study, which looked at 100 years of life expectancy data from Whiteley Village, located in Hersham, Surrey.

Over the last century, Whiteley villagers have lived longer, higher-quality lives than the England and Wales average by up to five years. The study authors noted that result is particularly remarkable as the village caters solely to low-income pensioners who normally have a reduced life expectancy.

Independence, friendship, community spirit, personal security, quality accommodation, physical and social activities, and handyman services were some of the factors that the study found “act in combination and reinforce each other to strong effect” providing the basis for the village’s exceptional health outcomes.

Whiteley Village is by no means an outlier. Retirement villages support good health simply by facilitating so many opportunities to live an active lifestyle.

Enid Webster is one of the many proofs in the pudding. The 97-year-old resident at Adventist Senior Living‘s Avondale Lifestyle Community near Lake Macquarie, entered the City to Surf for the first time at age 93 and has since run it three more times. Surprisingly, she’s not the event’s oldest participant. Organisers say that honour belongs to a 99-year-old man who completed the course in 2003 in 188 minutes. Enid is in no doubt about the role Avondale has played in keeping her fit.

Enid Webster pictured above with her City to Surf team
“Life in our retirement village has kept me vibrant and active,” says resident Enid Webster, pictured above (2nd from left) with her City to Surf team.

“Life in our retirement village has kept me vibrant and active. There are always people around to keep me engaged with life and still feeling youthful at 97.

“It is easy to make friends and there is always something to keep me busy and enjoying life.

“I also love to maintain my own veggie garden to this day, and enjoy the flowers I grow in the gardens around my villa.”