What to weigh-up if considering a retirement village?
Before you get your heart set on any particular village or unit, spend plenty of time asking around (including asking friends who have done their own homework or who have perhaps moved into a village) and studying your options. Examine all the legal and financial arrangements of each of the villages you consider, as they are all different.
We believe it’s important to think about what your needs are now and what they might be in the future. They could differ significantly so you need to think realistically about this. For example; despite that fact that few of us will ever require residential care, none of us can guarantee what we might need in the future. Should you factor this into your consideration? Would you happy to to move elsewhere if you do require residential care?
Villages vary greatly – you’ll notice different-sized villages, from very few units to some with hundreds; different types of units within the same complex; newer villages and older villages. You will discover the community facilities can vary, with some villages offering a wide range such as a swimming pool, bowling green and café, and others only a basic meeting room.
The differences are not just those you can see. The way the village operates can also vary. Factors that influence this include the ownership structure, the experience and/or stability of the ownership, and the associated philosophy towards village living.
Most people are quite independent when they move into a village. It’s likely you would be too, and you can expect village management to regard and treat you as such. But circumstances may change and as a result you may want some assistance. For example, you may want village staff to check on you from time to time or you may need some practical support or personal care to enable you to stay in your home. Depending on your contract and whether the relevant services are available, you may be able to continue living in your unit, even if you require quite a lot of support. Home-based support services may be delivered by the village or by an external provider. Some villages also offer serviced apartments where a range of services can be purchased from the village operator. A higher level of care may be obtained if you live in a care apartment.
All villages have associated costs including those of leaving. You need to be fully aware of these.
Whether you want an official tour of the village or would prefer to look around by yourself, make sure you visit a village more than once before you make a decision, and if possible visit more than one village to get a feel for how each has its own culture.
Meet the people you will have contact within the village – this may include the owner, the manager and other residents. Talk to several residents to hear their perspective.
Find out if there are regular social events or meetings and ask if you can come along and see if the village community feels like a place you would want to be a part of. Staff at some villages have quite an active role in village life, while at others they have less.
Research shows most people enjoy a high level of satisfaction when living in a lifestyle or retirement village. Residents say the benefits of a village are numerous, and they will be different depending on your personal needs. These may include giving you peace of mind, new and varied activities and interests, new friendships and a feeling of being free to do the things you enjoy and not having to worry about home maintenance and other chores.