Why retiring near family can give you a new lease of life

Are you currently considering where to live throughout your retirement years? You could stay in your current home, however we have considered a number of reasons that moving closer to your relatives may be your favoured option.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Ask anyone why they are considering retiring near family and it’s likely they’ll give you one, or all, of the following answers.  

  1. You’ll build stronger relationships with your grandchildren. Being part of your grandchildren’s lives is rewarding.  You’ll be able to help care for them and be there at the most important moments – school sports days, school concerts and birthday parties.
  2. You’ll become closer to your family members – particularly your adult children. If they’re working parents, they’ll be trying to balance their busy home/work lives and will appreciate a helping hand.
  3. It will be easy and less expensive to visit family. You’ll be able to pop in for a morning or an afternoon – or just enjoy Sunday lunch – and then return to your own peaceful home.  There’ll be no need to stay over or to face a long journey by car or rail.   You’ll save time and money spent travelling – the cost of petrol or train tickets soon adds up.
  4. Your family will be able to give you a hand if, and when, you need it. Whilst Beechcroft’s estate managers provided a great deal of help to residents during the recent pandemic, families who lived close delivered shopping and medications to their relatives.
  5. You – and your family – will have the peace of mind knowing that there’s support on hand. If you need help, it won’t take them long to reach you.  If you’re ill or in hospital, they’ll be able to help take care of you.
A couple walking through a park with a dog
A grandmother helping her granddaughter with a book

Families are now more geographically distant

Just a couple of generations ago, most families lived close to the majority of their relatives – often family members lived in the same street.  When the younger members of the family married, they’d move away from home but, generally, not more than a few miles. 

Things have changed dramatically over the last 80 years and now families are spread out across the country. Young people go away to college or university and, after graduating, may stay in the university town.  If they’re offered a new job or a promotion, they may have to relocate miles away.  If they meet a partner who lives in another area, the likelihood is that they’ll move.

Retirement:  a time of change and choices

When you retire, you are, perhaps for the first time in your adult life, able to choose where you live.  You no longer have to buy a home near work or the children’s schools.  You can relocate to a place of your choosing – including somewhere close to family. 

One recent Beechcroft buyer didn’t intend moving closer to family but fell in love with a development less than ½ mile from her son and his family – and she is delighted that she has done so.  Like all Beechcroft buyers, with a home that’s more energy efficient and easier to maintain, she’s able to spend time doing things that she really enjoys - and her grandchildren are able to pop in and visit her on their way home from school.


A grandson chasing his dog followed by granddad and grandmother.

The disadvantages of relocating in retirement

Of course, downsizing is a good idea in retirement and living near family has so many advantages but for all the pros, there are some cons.

It can be difficult to leave the place you’ve lived for years and where you’ve raised your family.  You’ll need to find a new hairdresser, a new doctor and a dentist.  You may be leaving some good friends behind when you relocate.   You may also worry that your family won’t have time for you – or, on the other hand, that you will end up seeing too much of each other!

For those of us over 55, independence is important.   Our generation doesn’t like having to rely on the younger generation – even though we may need help sometimes.  We don’t want to be ‘in the way’ or to be seen as a ‘bit of a nuisance.’

Moving closer to family doesn’t mean you have to see them all the time, though.  Relocating to a new area can mean having a whole new lease of life.  Initially, you may have to make more of an effort to build a new social circle but this can be immensely rewarding and you might find yourself doing something you’d never dreamed of. 

Three elderly people playing a board game outside.

How to make new friends, find new hobbies and gain a new lease of life in retirement

It’s easy to make friends in childhood but, in adulthood, it can be far more difficult.  You’re generally far too busy with work and family to develop close friendships.  Retirement, however, is a different matter.  Once you’ve met potential friends, you’ve got more time to cement the friendship over morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas, to share visits to the theatre, the cinema or the local museum or art gallery. 

Moving to a new retirement community makes meeting new people so much easier.  You’ll have a lovely home along with your privacy and independence but with the possibility of a new social life.  

Retirement communities such as Beechcroft developments attract like minded people.  If the development has a communal lounge, it soon becomes a social hub, hosting coffee mornings, quizzes, fitness classes, meetings and events.  The beautifully landscaped gardens are delightful places to sit and chat with neighbours.

One Beechcroft homeowner commented that he’d chatted to more people in a week on his new development than he had in the nine years he’d spent in his former home.  On several developments, homeowners walk dogs together and some even holiday together.


A grandmother preparing food with her granddaughter
A retired couple sitting on a bench by the water
A grandmother playing games with her grandchildren

How to build a social circle in the wider community

With retirement communities like Beechcroft’s, close to attractive villages and market towns, there’s so much you can do to make friends in the wider area, if you choose to do so.

  • Join a club. Common interests help form strong friendships – and, in retirement, you’ll want to find friends with the same interests so you can enjoy them together.  There’s a whole host of sports enjoyed by the over 55s including golf, tennis, bowls, walking, cycling and rowing.  Local village halls host clubs, societies and fitness classes and most areas have a local choir or amateur dramatics society.  If you don’t enjoy the stage, amateur dramatics societies also appreciate help backstage.  To find a local walking group, visit ramblers.org.uk or for cycling clubs www.cyclinguk.org.
  • Learn something new – or make a start on a novel or your memoirs! The University of The Third Age is a great place to start with book clubs, lessons in creative writing, crafts, languages and fitness.
  • For women, there’s the Women’s Institute. As the largest women’s organization in the UK, the WI is a trusted place for women of all generations to share experiences and learn from each other. You’ll be able to meet women in your local area, make friends and make a difference in the community.
  • Adopt a dog. If you and your dog are friendly, you’ll naturally start chatting to other dog owners – and dog training classes are a great place to meet friends.
  • From local charity shops to stately homes, volunteers are always welcomed.  Making new friends, working in amazing places and knowing that you’re helping a great cause are three fabulous reasons to get volunteering.  The National Trust offers volunteer opportunities as room guides, rangers, admin support, buggy drivers, gardeners and more.  Visit www.myvounteering.nationaltrust.org.uk to find out what’s available.
  • Head to the local church. Local churches welcome new members and there will be coffee mornings and events to attend.  Many churches appreciate help with flowers or special services – and there may be a chance to join the choir or become a bell ringer.

Are you looking to move closer to your family? 

If you’re thinking of relocating close to family in the southern counties including Kent, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire or Hertfordshire, take a look at Beechcroft’s collection of elegant houses and apartments, set in beautifully landscaped and fully maintained settings.

 View our current developments
An older couple with their grandson and granddaughter.

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