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Introduction to Retirement Villages

Retirement is a new stage of life, and some even say ‘life begins at retirement’. You may be looking forward to putting your feet up or pottering around the garden, or want to fill your time with volunteering or social group activities.
More people are opting to live in a retirement village (Source: Shutterstock)
More people are opting to live in a retirement village (Source: Shutterstock)

Whatever you want to do, where you choose to spend your retirement is just as important as how you spend your retirement, and more people are opting to live in a retirement village.

According to the Property Council of Australia, in 2014, there were more than 2300 retirement villages in Australia and around 184,000 seniors living in retirement villages. However that figure is expected to double with some predicting as many as 382,000 people will be living in retirement villages by 2025.

Retirement Villages are housing developments offering a range of accommodation options, services and facilities. These vary from swimming pools and golf courses to social events and 24-hour emergency assistance. You may also be attracted to the opportunity to downsize into a like-minded community with additional benefits while maintaining your independent living lifestyle.

Although there are other costs associated with retirement villages, properties are often cheaper than similar sized homes in the same area. Some villages also have rental properties, meaning you can still enjoy the benefits of retirement village living without having to own the home.

Read about life in a retirement village

Types of retirement villages

There are two types of villages in Australia offering ownership and rental opportunities.

Resident-funded village

  • Owned and operated by the private sector, or by a not-for-profit organisation on a commercial basis to produce a profit or surplus.
  • Funded by the residents who ‘purchase’ their villa or apartment under one of the tenure arrangements.
  • Residents also contribute to the village’s capital infrastructure cost and ongoing management costs.

Donor-funded village

  • Normally owned and operated by not-for-profit organisations.
  • Include an element of charitable subsidy.
  • Entry is generally restricted to the ‘needy’

Learn more about renting or owning in a village

Types of retirement properties

Villas & ILUs

Villas, (sometimes referred to as Independent Living Units), are designed for when you require little or no assistance with daily activities, but want to enjoy the benefits of living in a retirement community.

Properties range from one to four bedrooms and come in many shapes and forms varying, from high or medium-rise complex or terrace housing arrangement to a stand-alone or semi-detached building.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments generally have one or two bedrooms and offer you the safety and security of 24-hour support and access to living assistance.

They are ideal when you don’t need round-the-clock medical support, but you need a bit of extra help for daily living, such as evening meals, weekly cleaning, laundry and assistance with personal care. While a small kitchenette is usually included within the apartment, meals are generally served in a dining room setting.

Retirement villages with home care services

If you live in a villa or independent living unit, many retirement villages also offer access to a range of home care services such as help with domestic work and transport to appointments.

Whether you use the in-house or another supplier, home care services are an additional cost.

However, you may find you have access to additional financial support for home care services via the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP).

Learn more about home care

Retirement villages with Residential Aged Care

Some retirement village developments now have integrated levels of care and are offering Residential Care accommodation. This means that even though your needs may have changed, you can still live in the same community.

This is especially beneficial for partners as you can stay close to each other and friends if one of you has complex needs or can’t continue to live in your own home.

To be considered for a village’s residential accommodation, you still have to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria).

Be aware, however, you may need to make a separate accommodation payment if you are entering residential care even if you are already living in the retirement village. It is advised to check if your entry contribution can be refunded quickly so you can pay the accommodation payment.

You may be eligible for state funding to help pay for your residential aged care.

Read about nursing home costs


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