Senior Lifestyle: Pick a retirement haven

Growing up is optional: There are many aspects to consider when choosing where you will spend your retirement such as what activities and services the retirement villages provide and whether it suits your lifestyle.
Growing up is optional: There are many aspects to consider when choosing where you will spend your retirement such as what activities and services the retirement villages provide and whether it suits your lifestyle.

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GONE are the days when retirement living was tied to the stigma of tired facilities and old-fashioned aged care options.

Today’s retirees have a pick of villages, over-55s communities, apartment-style complexes and resort-style retreats, with many looking to downsize on everything but their lifestyle.

And with so many options to choose from, picking the right retirement village can be a little overwhelming.

The good news is you’re not alone.

Research from the Property Council shows there’s a growing number of Aussie seniors choosing to downsize, with the average age of new residents moving into retirement villages rising to 75.

According to the council’s 2016 Retirement Census, Australian retirement villages now have a 92 per cent occupancy rate, showcasing the growing popularity of retirement living among the senior population.

“What we can see from the research is that retirement villages can extend the independence and quality of life of their residents,” said Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison.

To this end, the Property Council’s retirement arm the Retirement Living Council has given out its top tips.

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TIPS ON CHOOSING A RETIREMENT VILLAGE

1. Decide what type of village will suit your lifestyle. Do you want to be close to the beach or the bush, or stay in the city? There's a village to suit all styles of living.

2. Visit multiple villages before choosing your preferred destination. It helps to directly compare and contrast what different villages offer.

3. Speak to existing residents - they’ll always give you fearless and frank advice about their village.

4. Meet the manager - the village manager is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the village.

5. Clarify what’s in the regular maintenance or service fee - some villages have different rules about what is and is not included, such as some utilities.

6. Find out about the residents’ committee - residents often have a say in decision making in the village through the committee.

7. Ask about pets - many residents would like to bring pets with them to the village but there can be rules around this.

8. Find out about village activities and services – most retirement villages run a regular series of events and activities, from movie clubs to knitting groups to bocce tournaments.

9. Consider your future health needs - some villages can facilitate the delivery of care and support services.

10. Seek independent legal and financial advice - the contract to move into a retirement village is different from a ‘normal’ home purchase, so expert advice is vital for true peace of mind.

Source: The Senior

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