Balancing the Pros and Cons of Retirement Village Living

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pros and cons of retirement village living

Most experts recommend having a retirement plan early, including where you’re going to live. Many Australian retirees are choosing retirement villages as their home base.

According to the Property Council Of Australia, there were around 184,000 seniors living in retirement villages in 2019. That figure is expected to double by 2025, as many are drawn to the community and security retirement living offers.

As with any major change, it’s best to consider the pros and cons of retirement village living before committing.

Retirement Living FactorsAdvantagesDisadvantages
Cost– High-quality standard of living
– Relatively affordable cost
– Price already includes access to various services and facilities, even discounts at local businesses and activities.
– Usually requires initial investment, which not all individuals may afford
Convenience– Homes are located in desired locations and easy to maintain
– Access to many amenities and benefits
– People may need to move to towns or cities far from their loved ones.
– Not everyone may like having close neighbours.
Facilities– May share communal lounges, a library, a gym, craft rooms, and swimming pools– Most facilities are communal, so there is less privacy, less independence, and a lack of diversity.

Are retirement villages a good idea?

Retirement villages offer a strong sense of community with various recreational and social activities, health care, and lifestyle benefits. Downsizing means fewer living expenses, and you’ll likely save time on chores like cleaning, maintenance and yard care. This gives you more time to explore your own interests and enjoy family and friends.

Retirement villages also offer safety and security, as well as care support services as you age.

What are the costs of living in a retirement village?

Moving to a retirement village unit requires several charges before, during, and even after your time there.

  • Deposit and Capital Investment

This is to secure a licence to occupy, or Occupation Right Agreement (ORA). Once you have an ORA, you will become a resident with a contractual right to occupy a particular property in the village (although you still don’t own the property).

  • Management Fee

As per the ORA, the village operator retains around 20% to 30% of the initial capital as a deferred management fee, which covers the maintenance of communal areas and resources, property renovation once the licence ends, and other financial costs.

  • Periodic Fees

Residents will also pay periodic fees to cover daily operating expenses like staff wages, insurance, grounds maintenance, and village services. The fee amount may vary, so you must ask the village manager for details. 

Pros of living in a retirement village

Living in a retirement village is definitely a trend for seniors looking to get the care they need at this stage of life. Here are some advantages of living in a retirement community:

  • Community living – The strength of retirement living lies in its community, which allows the elderly to enjoy companionship and share an active lifestyle, instead of feeling isolated. After all, they can share the different amenities these villages offer with other residents.
  • Convenience – Locations often are accessible to public transport, shopping centres as well as health care, lifestyle, and community facilities.
  • Save time on chores – Retirement village accommodation is low-maintenance, which means less cleaning! Many villages also offer home care support, which comes at extra cost. You may find you are eligible for home care support from the government… Good luck with that.
  • Onsite support services – When you reach a point where you need extra care in daily life, a retirement village has skilled nurses and the amenities you need onsite.
  • Safety – Most retirement communities are gated and guarded, so you can rest assured your home is safe. If you go away the village operator takes care of your home. Retirement units also usually don’t have stairs, so it is easy for elders to move around.
  • Flexibility – Most communities offer independent living units while providing important services for residents of every age. Aged care can also be more easily arranged, and some retirement villages are right next to a residential care home.

Cons of living in a retirement village

There are also drawbacks of staying in a retirement village:

  • Relocating – Moving far away from family and friends to live in a retirement village can be a hard decision to make.
  • No young people – Residents of the community are aged 55 and over, so it would be hard for those who got used to living in a mixed social environment to move to a nursing home.
  • Downsizing – While many people would love to downsize after a certain age, some people don’t feel right about staying in a smaller space. Nevertheless, people who travel often consider their retirement home a ‘lock-and-go’ house which is easy to maintain.
  • Cost – Nursing homes charge monthly fees to cover their running costs such as maintenance of facilities, staff wage, utility bills, and insurances. This can be costly for some.
  • Homeownership – Instead of owning their property, those who live in retirement villages only get occupancy rights, including access to offered services and resources.

Plan your retirement

Living in retirement villages certainly comes with plenty of benefits for seniors. However, considering all pros and cons before making a decision and signing a contract for a retirement village is the best way to plan for your retirement.

We’ve got plenty more information on all things retirement and aged care here at Aged Care Weekly. Have a browse or sign up for our newsletter.

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