Old age is big business, there being so much of it to get through nowadays and the boomers having all the net worth. Hence programmes like The World’s Most Luxurious Retirement Homes (Channel 5).

Welcome to The Palace in Miami, a gleaming neo-palazzo modelled without shame or compunction on the George V in Paris. It was founded by a woman from Israel whose facial muscles have been immobilised by surgery. “I just love beautiful things, what can I do?” she purred, and indicated a glass coffee table held up like a tray by a crouching black statue. Beauty, as we know, is in the eye of the beholder. 

Not to be out-spent, The Ridge in Colorado is guarded by a pair of custom-built equestrian statues that, its CEO confided, cost $125,000. But enough about the lurid appurtenances. The residents in God’s glitziest waiting rooms are alive and kicking and noshing on lobster and T-bones. “Why shouldn’t I have the best?” reasoned one of them. 

By no means every retired handbag entrepreneur or former chemical executive was quite as charmlessly entitled. “If you move you don’t lose it,” said wonderful ex-dancer Rita in Colorado. Exercising like crazy at 97, she still had it in spades. 

Like many superficial documentaries about the velvety lifestyles of the disproportionately wealthy, this was somewhere between gaudy freak show and buzzy advertorial. If any of the featured residents nurse in-house enmities, as they surely must, they were swept tidily away under acres of Persian rug. 

The closest we strayed towards any sort of tension came at Danny House, a towering pile near the South Downs where oils of other people’s ancestors hang on the walls. It’s sort of Downton Abbey but with worse scriptwriters. “Danny House is overloaded with ambience,” reckoned Mike, who was thinking of moving in. 

This is somewhat at the insistence of his inamorata Susan, who is already in situ. Mike met Susan after she advertised for love in The Telegraph, calculating that “people like me would be in there more than other places”. Mike wears red trousers. Susan, you suspect, wears the trousers.

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2024-06-09T20:02:36Z dg43tfdfdgfd