Pros and Cons of Retirement Village Living
If you want to maintain your independence for as long as possible, while having the best quality of life possible, then you may be considering retirement village living as an option.
Retirement should be some of the best years of your life and for many the high-quality facilities and support that retirement village living provides allows them to get more out of the latter years of their life and also delay moving into a nursing home.
But is this the right option for you right now and what are some of the pros and cons of retirement village living that you should consider before you pack up and move.
It’s a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What Are The Positives of Living in a Retirement Village
For most people, and likely yourself included, maintaining as much of your independence as possible is the #1 priority.
The Patterns in Aged Care Program Use 2002-03 to 2010-11 report found that the average age of entry into an aged care facility was 84 for residents in retirement villages but was a full 5 years earlier for those going straight from the family home.
While losing any of your independence is never ideal, retirement villages seem to offer residents more flexibility and the ability to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
Facilities At Your Doorstep
One of the major advantages of retirement village living over staying in the family home is the sheer quantity of facilities available to you that the average person just can’t afford for their own home (or want to maintain).
Retirement villages such as Living Choice have facilities such as on site dining, beautiful parks, leisure centres where you can get coffee and meet your neighbours, movie theatres, bowls greens and even indoor heated pools and gym facilities.
I’d much rather spend my leisure time with friends doing enjoyable activities than mowing the lawn and fixing up the house.
Research shows that quality connection, social interactions and being involved in your local community is an important part of maintaining health and independence.
When staying at the family home it can be difficult to meet people and make new friends. One of the benefits of retirement village living is that there are lots of opportunities to make connections through social gatherings, events and activities.
Safety and Support
Good quality retirement villages offer safety in the form of protected gates, secure buildings and sometimes even securities guards allowing you to feel safe and secure.
They also offer a variety of support services to allow you to both live as independently as possible while having quick access to things like emergency services. Some villages have aged care providers and health professionals on site and available any time.
Easier access to health services can mean less hospital visits and more independence for longer.
What Are The Negatives of Living in a Retirement Village
While access to great facilities, a thriving community and beautiful homes sounds like an ideal situation there are some downsides to retirement village living that you should consider before you sign on the dotted line.
Retirement communities usually have strict rules that are there for the benefit of all. While many of these rules can be fine to deal with breaches can lead to issues and fines that you may not want to deal with.
Over 55 resident Casey Bogle suggests reading all the community rules and regulations carefully before joining a retirement village. If you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s much better to know now than once you’ve already moved it.
Lack of Age Diversity
Many people enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy neighbourhood and enjoy being around people of all ages.
One of the downsides of living in a retirement village is that almost all of the residents are going to be over the age of 55.
This can be great for some people who want to enjoy their peace and quiet, but isn’t ideal for everyone.
Smaller Home Sizes
While homes and apartments do vary in size they tend to be on the smaller side and usually designed for 2 adults.
If you’re coming from a larger family home you may need to downsize and living in a smaller space comes with an adjustment period.
Restriction of Visitors
Some aged communities place restrictions on the visitors you can have in your home. Sometimes things such as the age of the visitors and duration of their visit can be limited as well as where your visitors can go and what amenities they are allowed to use.
Fees and Contracts
Living in a retirement village usually comes with fees and contracts that are different from owning your family home.
They usually require some sort of upfront investment, which can be difficult for some families to come by, as well as ongoing fees that vary depending on the village and the services available.
Understanding your fees and property ownership rights is important and can prevent potential surprises down the line.