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How do retirement villages work?

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So, you’ve got some good, long-term friends, but when these couples take off on their annual winter caravanning trip, your social calendar can get a bit quiet. Perhaps you’d also rather spend your afternoons enjoying a nice sunset glass of wine rather than trying to keep that garden in check. Whatever the reason, a retirement village can be the perfect way to make life easier and more enjoyable. If you’re wondering ‘how do over 55 retirement villages work?’, then this article should help you get an idea.

How do retirement communities work?

A retirement village isn’t like an aged care home. In fact, retirement communities can only be used by people who are fully independent. So, how does retirement housing work then?

These villages are a community of homes designed for people over 55, usually some of these people are retired while others still work part-time. In a retirement community, you don’t lose any of the independence you have in your own home. It’s your house, so you can do what you want with it, whether that’s having people over or decorating it with your family heirlooms. But instead of being isolated out in a suburb, the villages are centrally located and set up with a variety of useful and entertaining shared facilities.

What is the moving-in process like?

There’s no pressure for you to settle for a house you don’t like just to get the village experience. Everyone has different tastes. Take the time to choose a village that works for you. Do you want to live it up in a glamorous apartment with peaceful views over the ocean or do you need the suburban-style house with space for big family dinners and sleepovers with the grandkids?

If you’re interested in moving into a retirement village, you could take a tour to look around and get a feel for the place. When you’re on the tour, make sure the events calendar has activities you’re actually interested in, for instance: if you’re a swimmer, you could pick the place with the largest pool. You can also meet your potential neighbours. There’s plenty of friendly, like-minded people at retirement villages, so it’s easy to make new friends.

Are retirement villages a good idea?

Just like any change in your life – going to university, moving in with a partner – no one else should tell you whether it’s the right choice. Some people wish they had taken advantage of the retirement village lifestyle earlier, but then others may prefer to stay in their family home for a few more years. All you can do is check out the options, gain an understanding of what retirement communities are like, and then decide based on how you feel.

What’s life like in a retirement village?

  • Activities
    There’s always something happening in a retirement village. Live music, mini golf, Christmas lunches, group gym classes, lawn bowls, and whatever else the community comes up with! If you’re just looking for a quiet day, then that’s fine, but when you want to mix it up, there will definitely be something you can join.
  • Community
    Most of the time, all we need is someone to have a cuppa with. When you live in a retirement village, the social events and communal areas help you meet like-minded people that can then become close friends. When there’s always a friend five minutes away, isolation and loneliness become a distant memory. Also, if you become injured or are finding some tasks difficult, there will be people around to support you.
  • Safety
    Retirement villages are safe in two ways. Firstly, the homes themselves are designed to make life easier as you age. They usually come with emergency call systems and inbuilt features like grab bars, seated showers, and carpeted floors to help reduce falls. The entire village is also safe. If you get a yearning to become a grey nomad for a while, then you can ‘lock up and leave’ your house and it will be secure while you’re gone – some villages even supply secure caravan parking.
  • Convenience
    Many people make the switch to a lifestyle village because the maintenance on their home has become too much. In the village, they can enjoy beautiful gardens and even a pool, without having to look after it. Also, villages are conveniently located near public transport, medical facilities, shops, and perhaps the beach (if you’re lucky).

Are retirement villages a good investment?

When you consider moving into a retirement community, it’s important to understand your contract and all the relevant costs so that you can make an informed decision. So, how do retirement villages work? What are the costs? Well, retirement villages require ongoing fees from residents to cover the wages of village staff and the maintenance of common areas, so you’ll have to pay this cost on top of buying your house. Also, some retirement villages ask for an exit fee if you decide to leave, so you need to take this cost into consideration as well.

Moving into a retirement village is an investment in your new lifestyle. It’s a financial investment in your health and happiness. The best thing to do before you move is speak to a financial adviser to make sure you’re able to safely make this investment.

Finding your retirement village

For anyone Googling ‘retirement villages near me’, St Ives has communities all over WA, including south and north of the river in Perth and places like Mandurah and Albany in the country. Why don’t you come by and meet some of the residents at your local village? Book a tour today.