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Is retirement village living right for you?

There are lots of factors that come in to play when deciding whether to move into a retirement village. These can be health, social, financial, security and lifestyle. Although not all retirement villages are the same, all of them have some similar characteristics that make them appealing to people.

The social aspect

Staying socially active can help you maintain good physical and emotional health. Research indicates also that those who have a close group of friends and regularly interact with others tend to live longer and be protected against illness. If you are beginning to feel lonely then a retirement village can provide you with opportunities to socialise and enjoy outings with neighbours, who could end up being friends. Before moving in speak to other residents at the retirement village you are considering. This may give you a feeling of the community. Ask about outings, activities and village life and how often these are encouraged.

Managing the housework

If the thought of taking care of your own medication and all meals seems daunting it may be a good move to visit some retirement villages to see how they can lessen the burden. If you are having difficulties keeping on top of the housework, or the garden, then moving somewhere smaller may help reduce this stress and workload. Most retirement villages also offer a cleaning service for an additional fee as well.

Want to cut back on your driving?

If driving, or catching public transport, has become difficult or impossible, then a retirement village may offer a solution to your problems. Some retirement villages offer assisted transport which means you may be able to get out and about more and help restore a bit of your independence and confidence.

Security conscious 

Retirement villages offer a peace of mind to those who may be worried about security. Living in a retirement village can offer you the best of both worlds, you can enjoy the benefits of privacy and security whilst not having to worry about maintaining your home.

While all of the above goes into your decision of whether to move into a retirement village, you should also consider a number of other things, including:

Make sure it suits ‘you’

It is important that people select the right village for their needs. Shopping around for retirement villages are similar to shopping around for a house. Make sure you have an idea in your head about what things you want and what things you do not want and ask questions to see if the village will suit you and your needs. Especially if you are thinking about needing care down the track.

Make sure the size fits

There are many things that come into play when you make your decision: the location, size, type of apartments available and their layout size. Speak to the village manager at the prospective retirement home about your needs, and ask to visit an apartment to see its true size. You will then be able to see if it will fit furniture and other items that will make the move with you.

Make sure it’s affordable

The financial implications of a move into a village are considerable. It’s important that you’re completely informed about what is covered in the occupational rights agreement, the Code of Residents Rights, Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008 and 2013 variations and the Disclosure Statement. Ask for a breakdown on what these are and seek professional independent advice.

Remember to consider things like:

  • Can you cover the monthly fees?
  • Who is responsible for paying the utility fees, rates etc?
  • If you change your mind and decide a village isn’t for you, will you have enough money to purchase back in the community?
  • If your needs change and you require residential care are there services on site or will you have to move to another premises?
  • What are the implications of your ORA – will you share in any capital gain?
  • What is the cost for refurbishment when you leave your unit?
  • How will your unit be re-sold?
  • Who is responsible for selling the unit?
  • If your unit doesn’t sell quickly what are the financial implications?

Deciding to move to a retirement village can be a big decision that requires a lot of thought and consideration but it could be a good move for those who want a bit of social interaction and support whilst still retaining some independence.  Take your time and speak to staff and other residents and ultimately make a decision that is right for you and your circumstances.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.

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