An expert reveals why more Australians are choosing retirement living
“People want that lifestyle for a bunch of reasons,” shares the expert. “They might like the security ... there’s the low-maintenance side of it ... and there’s the social connection.”
While the process of selling the family home and moving into one of these communities can be daunting, it’s a challenge that’s well worth taking on, says Lane, the principal of Aged Care Gurus, and co-author of Downsizing Made Simple.
“Most people procrastinate, and years go by, and then something big happens, like they lose their spouse, or have a big health scare. And they go, well, that’s it. Now I’m going to make the move. And as soon as they do, I can tell you the first words that come out of their mouth: ‘My only regret is I didn’t do this five years ago.’”
Here are five things people love about their retirement villages.
Retirement villages are communities, in which, in all likelihood, you’ll know all your neighbours, have lots of friends, and never run out of things to do with them, thanks to an activity schedule that will make you wonder how you’re going to fit everything in.
Finding a community that’s the right fit for you – finding your people – is essential, Lane says. “It’s the number one thing ... it’s all about the vibe.”
Aveo operates more than 90 retirement villages around Australia, all with social programs, from wellness classes to happy hours, says Aveo national sales innovation manager Marilyn Graham.
The option to slow down
Let’s face it: at some point in life, the idea of not having to climb a ladder starts to look very appealing.
There’s little to no maintenance in a retirement village, Lane says. “You’ve got all these, in some cases, amazing facilities – swimming pools, gyms, yoga decks – but you don’t have to maintain it,” she says. “Someone else does.”
Aveo’s maintenance teams deal with everything from cleaning your gutters to keeping the community gardens in perfect shape.
Having supportive staff in the retirement village can help in different ways in different times, Lane says.
“When you first move in, you might not have friends,” she says. “So having staff there that can make introductions to people that they think might be your kind of people is really important.
“Later, if the need for care arises, having the right staff can really come into its own.”
If you need more care as you age, most Aveo communities also offer tailored home care services, so you can stay in your home.
Neighbours who look out for each other
Security is a big part of the appeal for retirement village residents, Lane says.
“People like the security of knowing that their neighbours are looking out for them” she says. “They like the fact that if they want to, they can leave their home and go travelling for six months, and when they come back, it’s going be exactly as they left it.”
Aveo villages are gated, tight-knit communities, where neighbours look out for each other.
A promise of peace of mind
Retirement village contracts are famously complex. And payment options have traditionally been limited, Lane says.
“In many cases, it’s been a take-it-or-leave-it kind of offer ... But people have different goals ... I’m a big champion of having different payment options.”
Lane has worked with Aveo to develop three new types of payment option: you can defer your management fee until when you leave the village (the traditional model), you can choose a discounted management fee option (by paying up front), or a no-management fee option (by paying a refundable premium entry payment and a non-refundable establishment fee on entry).
Aveo contracts include a money-back guarantee if you change your mind in the first six months, and a guaranteed repayment time frame when you leave the village.
And Aveo is working to make contracts more straightforward. Graham says: “We have done a lot of work to simplify our contracts so that they’re easier to understand.”