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Empowering our older generation to create their own future

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Comment by Paula Broadbent, retirement solutions director at ENGIE.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

I have always found this quote inspirational, and it has particularly influenced my personal ambition to provide better choices for older people in the UK. LIFEstyle by ENGIE, which launched in 2018, is a result of this ambition. It allows customers to have more control over their environment and their own futures in later life. To empower people, is to engage with them – so at LIFEstyle we have invested heavily in research and development through two-way communication. Our best advisors and advocates are our customers, and we have given people over 55, a voice right from the start of the LIFEstyle vision. We aim to ensure we understand what people aspire to in later life, and what the challenges are that they face – this is essential to creating a future that meets expectation, as well as need. 

When Spring of 2020 brought unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a major impact was felt across the world; creating fear, dismay and devastation for many, especially the older generation. Our LIFEstyle customers have not been immune to the ravaging effects, however, the sense of community, safe environment and individualised support available on our development has made the world of difference. This along with carefully designed lifelong homes offering indoor and outdoor independent space has helped people to remain safe and independent. I am very proud of our business model, LIFEstyle is weathering the pandemic – a storm no one could predict. We’re lucky to be working with a model that has proved successful in some of the toughest conditions the UK has faced for generations. However, we are not sitting on our laurels as we review the lessons learnt by scientists in relation to the spread of the virus. We’re constantly looking to identify preventative measures that we can build into our products and services in readiness for a spike or repeat of such a pandemic. The demand for our first LIFEstyle development in Walton Wakefield has increased two-fold since the lockdown eased and customer comments give a clear indication the approach at LIFEstyle by ENGIE is the right way forward.

This is only strengthened by our commitment to delivering zero carbon communities. Climate change is the pandemic we will not be able to develop a vaccine for, but we can slow it down and prevent it. The implications of doing nothing are far reaching and the devastation will not discriminate. My ambition is to build on the success of LIFEstyle, to create community based zero carbon solutions that decarbonise the environment and decentralise services. The impact of us doing something about climate change will be massive for future generations and can empower us all to create our own future.

As a senior leader within ENGIE, I make no apologies for being ambitious in my drive to deliver a business model that will change the horizon for future generations of older people in the UK. I aim to drive a way forward for a healthy future, for an environment that allows older generations to have aspirations in later life and a vision to support people to age well and live well, whilst protecting our planet. We will connect communities, health, housing and social care across all tenure groups. I am proud to work for a business with a clear mission, to place the planet and its population at the heart of its thinking when it comes to creating place, shaping and delivering infrastructure and services, to meet the need for a sustainable future. And I remain determined, to give the older generation a voice through education and engagement with younger creators, to ensure they are rightfully empowered to create their own futures. 

LIFEstyle by ENGIE is not simply about building suitable, lifelong homes to address short term aspirational needs of people over 55 or about providing a lovely home in a great location. LIFEstyle by ENGIE made a commitment to customers to provide long term sustainability and enable customers to influence, shape and control their own future; a future focused on remaining independent and well for longer.

LIFEstyle by ENGIE, allows people to future proof their lives and not just their home – promoting better long-term outcomes in later life. A home is not simply about an energy efficient building in the right location, it’s the support network of friends, family and interaction within the community that all contribute towards creating the perfect lifelong home. We understand this, and are committed to creating communities that focus on essential infrastructure like; location, accessibility to essential services, efficient green energy infrastructure, digital network and community facilities.

We want to enable people to engage with others in meaningful activities, bringing all generations closer together. The community hub is a key feature of all our LIFEstyle developments, along with cost effective pay as you go services and property adaptations when people need them. We ensure affordability of services and facilities which support wellbeing and make this all available on the doorstep. We are also working on innovations to compliment LIFEstyle by ENGIE, which we hope to launch later this year including; Electric Car share, ENGIE Digital Assistant and Modular Lifelong homes.

Ultimately, when it comes to happiness at any age, there are three homes we must take care of. Our body, our mind and our planet. At LIFEstyle we ensure our flexible and dynamic offering takes care of all three without compromise.

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BDC 299 December 2022