Life Begins at 40+

Life Begins at 40+

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Approaching the end of one’s working life can be a daunting prospect for many people. Of course, some retirees are involved in many social activities and events. You’ll often hear the phrase, “I don’t know how I ever found time for work.”

But for others, after years of working, whether, in a fulfilling career or tedious toil, the looming days might seem endlessly empty. Youthful dreams of time for faraway travel appear a lifetime away.

However, I have discovered a unique and affordable alternative for those who are looking for more from life after work.

Sun Park Living in Playa Blanca on the beautiful island of Lanzarote is a community driven concept for active over 40s. Set in a former aparthotel, Sun Park is a gated complex with low-rise apartment buildings set around central bathing pools surrounded by shrubs and trees.

Founder, Gil Summers, launched the concept in 2011 since when it has grown and is still evolving. There are currently 220 apartments but they are acquiring more accommodation to expand the complex.

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The apartments are self-catered and self-service and the residents, known as Sun Rockers, can stay for any period, from a week or two, a few months or even permanently. Apart from a couple of maintenance men, there is very few staff and the residents themselves volunteer to undertake gardening, cleaning of open areas and bar duties. This is how the cost of staying can be kept so low. There is no compulsion to do these tasks, but most of the Sun Rockers choose to join in.

Being a safe and secure complex, Sun Park is ideal for singles and couples; the shy and the extrovert. Many of the long-term residents made the move after separating from or losing their partners and the atmosphere is very inclusive so they can be independent while never needing to feel alone.

One 81-year-old man had lost his wife and he said he was rattling around the marital home where in every room everything brought memories of his loss. When he saw an advert for Sun Park he made the decision to rent out his house and the income more than covers his lifestyle in Lanzarote. In addition, with his new lease of life, he has found a lady friend for companionship.

There is a wide variety of skills and talents among the Sun Rockers and these are used to organise activities such as art classes, writing groups, cycling and walking tours, bowls, table tennis and a bridge club. Of course, you can just choose to chill out by the pool with a good book. There is regular entertainment with live acts, barbeques and quiz nights.

While you may choose to take in the local food and drink, the on-site supermarket, A Little Bit Bazar, specialises in importing British goods so that you can find the brands of food and cleaning products you are familiar with.

Within a short distance of the complex is the vibrant centre of Playa Blanca with golden beaches and a huge variety of shops, bars and restaurants. At Marina Rubicon, you can relax with a cocktail while watching the boats come and go with the sound of the water lapping at the quayside.

Lanzarote’s unique volcanic landscape is on the doorstep and whether you choose to hire a car and explore or take one of the many guided tours, most people are captivated by the island. And the climate is one of the most hospitable you can find anywhere.

Healthcare can be an issue in later life and Playa Blanca has an excellent medical centre as well as several private clinics.

When I visited Sun Park the overall impression given by the residents was a relaxed and contented atmosphere. Everybody that I spoke to referred to the sense of community which they no longer find at home. Many say that they feel healthier and fitter, especially when escaping the UK winter.

Sun Park is not for everyone. You are not going to find five-star accommodation and maid service here. The apartments are basic but equipped with the essentials. However, you can personalise them with your own things which, when you return home, can be left in the free secure storage area until your next visit.

Prices are dependent on the length of stay but offer great value for an alternative, active lifestyle for however long and how often you choose to stay.

Information can be found at

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