Later Life is for Living with Anchor Hanover

Posted 10 October 2019 by Lizzie Leigh

This week we talk to Phillip Hulme, director of sales for Anchor Hanover, about later living...

Phillip Hulme tells us about silver chic, virtual lofts and why later life is for living...

Phillip, you head up sales for the largest provider of later living accommodation in the UK, what might a typical working day look like for you?

No one day is ever the same. Typical tasks vary from coaching the on-site sales teams to discuss leads, targets and results, analysing the success of recent digital and television advertising campaigns, or meeting our development team to discuss the forthcoming pipeline.

It’s extremely varied but rewarding work, particularly when you get to meet the residents who have settled in and are enjoying the next stages of their lives in our developments.

Anchor Hanover believes that later life is for living – how does the design of your properties support that vision?

It’s the overall design and management of our developments that supports this vision. All maintenance is taken care of by our on-site teams and at our larger sites you’ll find a village centre with a range of amenities and state-of-the- art facilities, various socialising areas and gardens with different zones.

We also plan a regular programme of events for residents, with many also organising their own events or running their own clubs. It’s a very social and friendly environment and the communities are thriving.

Do you have any new schemes you’re focusing on at the moment?

Our current flagship later living schemes are Bishopstoke Park in Eastleigh and Hampshire Lakes in Yateley.

Bishopstoke Park provides 145 independent living apartments, 19 assisted living apartments and an onsite 48 room care home, Orchard Gardens. There is also a state-of-the-art wellness centre within The Mount, a restored historic building that forms the centrepiece of the development. The third phase will open in 2021 adding a further 53 apartments.

Hampshire Lakes is a new lakeside community, with 119 independent living apartments and a 36-room care home, Willow Gardens, on site.  Set amongst landscaped grounds, it also provides a lakeside bistro, juice bar and delicatessen, hairdressing salon and library, amongst other things. We have already sold over 50% of phase two which opened this year.

Does Anchor Hanover offer any initiatives to help buyers?

We have significantly increased the range of initiatives which make moving into one our developments easier. We work with a number of trusted partners, including The Senior Move Partnership. This is a specialist relocation and rightsizing service that helps relieve the stress of moving home, with a dedicated team offering bespoke services.

We also offer some unique initiatives like the VIA card which is a transport solution that could take a resident around the whole world; a ‘virtual’ loft providing storage for residents who are not sure which of their belongings they need to dispose of, as well as interior design services, all of which are designed to make the moving process as easy as possible.

Delivering these initiatives through a highly motivated, friendly and experienced sales team is the real benefit to potential buyers.

How do you help customers who are trying to tie up the sale of a family home to move to one of your properties?

On average our customers have not bought or sold a property for at least 40 years. To work around this we can signpost people to a number of Part Exchange companies who have the ability to make an offer on properties for sale. This allows people to move into their new dream home much sooner than they think.

How do you think design ideas differ for later living accommodation as opposed to new build schemes aimed at younger buyers?

Our homes include design traits such as flat and level access everywhere, lower worktops and wall units, raised plug sockets to avoid residents having to bend down as much, as well as anti-slip porcelain tiles in the bathrooms.  Some apartments also have the option of sophisticated, discreet alarms, such as fall, light and wander monitors, to ensure maximum peace of mind. 

Do your schemes offer other services beyond property to support your customers in later life?

Much of our accommodation is for what’s known as independent living – for those with little or no care needs. However, some of our retirement communities have integrated specialist care facilities, which provide a full suite of support for those who need it.

We also have wellness centres at our larger developments, overseen by our fulltime wellness development manager Brett Jenkins, who recently received his second nomination for outstanding achievement in the National Fitness Awards 2019.

Brett works with the on-site teams to encourage residents to live healthier, active lives. This includes delivering a wide range of classes and activities, as well as providing special rehabilitation plans to help residents who have recently come out of hospital get active again.

Has there been a shift in perception of how older people ‘should’ live in later life in more recent years?

Undoubtedly, and it’s a hugely positive thing. There is a historical notion of retirement property being stale, beige spaces where people live unfulfilled lives but this is starting to change.

We are now catching up with the more developed Australian and U.S markets, where moving to later living accommodation is seen as a hugely exciting and aspirational step in your life. The rise of ‘silver chic’ is here to stay!

What are the biggest challenges for older people looking to move to a suitable property for later living?

We find that one of the biggest challenges for older people considering a move is ‘letting go’ of their existing home. Often, they have lived in those homes for most of their life, accumulating a wealth of happy memories and possessions.

This is why delivering outstanding service and changing perceptions of later living is so important - we need to educate people on the benefits that moving to a fit-for-purpose property can bring.

And finally, do you foresee a growth in demand for this kind of housing into 2020 and beyond?

Absolutely. As a business we have a development pipeline of circa 3,200 units over the next eight years, while collectively as an industry we are seeing a shift in attitudes, where people are thinking ‘actually, just because we are getting older, we shouldn’t have to settle for poor quality, unfit-for-purpose housing.’ You only have to take a walk around our new developments to see the results for yourself.

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