Advice: Benefits of buying a park home
Park home living is good for you – the doctor says so!
Dr Hilary Jones, television and radio presenter, GP and exponent of healthy living, rates park home living highly for its wellbeing benefits. So how did the media personality turn his attention to park home living? It’s all down to one manufacturer of park and leisure homes, Willerby. The company commissioned a report that examined the benefits of both holiday and park home lifestyles – and invited Dr Hilary Jones to support it. Which he did. And then Park and Holiday Home Inspiration invited Dr Hilary to offer us his advice and comments on the benefits of choosing the park home lifestyle.
So, what did he say? The aspects of park living that are likely to be beneficial to health and wellbeing include peace of mind, increased financial freedom as you downsize, making new friends and involvement in new activities.
Dr Hilary also gives advice, through Park and Holiday Home Inspiration, on staying mentally stimulated, and even offers tips on how to get to know your park home neighbours.
He tells us: “As we get older, it’s important to make new friends and stay curious by hearing fresh ideas and conversation, because the minute you stop listening, you stop learning. Park home living is a great way to meet new people and build an active social life. Many parks have a village feel, as well as a community of like-minded people, with similar backgrounds, ideas and interests. It also makes it easier to get involved in group activities such as rambling when you have the mutual encouragement of your neighbours.
“Having relationships with like-minded people can really help boost your mental health and wellbeing. They can push you outside your comfort zone. Most importantly, they can help you laugh and relax.” It’s obvious, when you think about it.
So, how should new park home residents get to know their neighbours? It’s not easy, you might say – but Dr Hilary says it actually is. “I would encourage people to set small challenges. For example, speak to at least one new person a week and find a new fact about them. Doing this will also allow you to have a feeling of accomplishment – a positive feeling which will encourage you to keep going.”
Easy? Dr Hilary certainly makes it sound easy. And, even more certainly, it’s far easier to make new friends on a park home development than in any other sort of living environment, simply because all of the residents are at a similar stage in life and so have quite a lot in common with others.
Otter Valley Park has lovely vistas. Image: ©Otter Valley Park
Views – and nature
Are you convinced yet, of the benefits of buying a park home? There’s more… Almost all park home estates are in rural areas. Being surrounded by nature has a hugely positive effect on wellbeing, says Dr Hilary. “Not many people realise it, but nature is great for mental health, because looking after our wellbeing isn’t just about lots of exercise and healthy food; it’s also about getting fresh air and natural sunlight, smelling the scents of flowers and listening to the birds.
“I would encourage everyone in retirement to spend as much time as possible in nature. Added to this are all the wonderfully peaceful sounds we hear when we’re out and about. The birds in the trees and the wind in the leaves can be very calming for us, as are natural scents like the perfume of flowers or trees. These sensations can reawaken within us ancient evolutionary feelings and reflexes of which we’re no longer aware until we’re reminded. This is why we feel so good when we reconnect with nature.”
Clearly, then, going for a park with lovely views is going to help to get you in touch with nature; views of hills, woodland, a river or coast will inspire you to get out and explore the natural surroundings. We know of plenty of parks that offer natural vistas. Among them is Cauldron Barn Farm Park in Dorset. Another is Otter Valley Park in Devon; views extend over the River Otter and towards the Blackdown Hills. In Suffolk, Wixfield Park, part of the Tingdene Parks group, has open views of countryside. Kirkstead Bridge Park, close to Woodhall Spa in lovely Lincolnshire, is a two-minute walk from the banks of the River Witham. And in Cheshire, Olympic Riverside Park sits beside the River Weaver, with far-reaching views – and birds that pop by the edge of the park close enough to be photographed.