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Finding the right retirement village for you

You want your retirement to be long, happy and stress free, and where you live plays a major role in this.

Key points:

  • Location can be really important when choosing a village, so are you looking for a sea change or a vine change?

  • You usually pay for the amenities available at a retirement village, so make sure you are happy with the facilities and services they have on offer

  • Sometimes villages have aged care facilities onsite or nearby, this can be a great option if you want to age in place or need easy access to aged care services

Older couple outside their retirement village
It is important to fully consider all aspects and research all housing options. [Source: Shutterstock]

Everyone has a different idea of what they want from retirement. If you are thinking about moving from where you are living into a retirement village, it is important to fully consider all aspects and research all housing options of the village to ensure it fits with your reasons for moving.

Most importantly, no matter how keen you are to move, do not rush into making a commitment. You don’t want to move somewhere only to realise you’ve made a wrong decision.

What should I consider

When deciding on a retirement village, be clear about what you want, what you are prepared to compromise on and what you definitely don’t want. 

To help you with the decision making process, here are some points to consider:

Finances: Know your budget, what you can afford and what other ongoing costs are required. Always seek expert legal and financial advice. Ask questions and ensure you fully understand all the financial and legal implications of living in a retirement village before you sign anything or hand any money over.

Lifestyle: Think carefully about how you spend your time now and how you want to spend your time in the future. For instance, if you are looking for a complete lifestyle change, you might consider a resort retirement village. Many villages now offer special interest facilities such as golf and tennis courts, and more are now accepting pets. You may also want to think about whether you want a garden or access to one.

Support: One of the attractions of a retirement village is the peace of mind of 24-hour help and assistance. Many villages now offer additional home support services. This is ideal if you need additional help with personal care, meals, laundry and domestic assistance.

Location: When looking at locations, you may want to consider whether you want to be closer to family or stay in or near the community you’re already in. You may have always dreamed of living by the sea or in the country, while proximity to shops may also be important to you.

Amenities: Villages now offer a massive range of amenities including libraries, restaurants, community rooms and barbeque areas. Ultimately you will be paying for these amenities through your weekly or monthly payments, so you may want to think about whether an all-weather indoor heated swimming pool or the caravan and boat parking is important to your needs.

Other accommodation: Your or your partner’s needs may change in the future, so you may also want to consider what other types of accommodation are available. Many developments are now offering serviced apartments and residential aged care at the same location, which means that even though your needs might change, you can still live in the same community.

Do your research

Start by looking at retirement villages in the vicinity of where you live or where you would like to live and see whether what they are offering fits with your needs and wants.

Also, look at general property prices in the area so you can gauge what is a fair price for the type of home you’re looking for.

As with any property you are interested in, when you’ve found one you like the look of, drive around to get a feel for the area.

Arrange a meeting with the village operators and speak openly about what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to ask questions about any concerns. You will probably be given a tour of the village, but also ask if you can visit it at different times.

If possible, see if you can attend social events so you can speak to current residents and get their perspective and experiences.

Ask to see a copy of the village rules/policies early on in the process so you know exactly what the legal structure is and you are aware of ongoing charges and other village regulations. 

For instance, some villages have a definite no pet rule. If you have a dog or cat which you do not want to part with, it is pointless pursuing opportunities with that retirement village further.

What necessities do you have for a village that are non-negotiable? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Moving into a Village
Life in a Village
How much can a retirement village cost?

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