Retirement villages: comparing apples and apples
Retirement is about living the life you've worked hard to enjoy. If lifestyle rather than obligation – such as relentless property maintenance - is part of your retirement plan, exploring retirement village living may be a life changing exercise. With a focus on keeping our over 65s healthy and happy over coming decades, retirement living options are growing. Comparing apples for apples will help you short list your retirement village preferences, tailored to your lifestyle aspirations.
The 6 questions you must consider
Each retirement village operator will provide you with, and walk you through, their contractual terms and conditions. Before you reach this point, here are the fundamental questions you need to answer:
Q1. Do I like the location? Is it easily accessible* to:
- loved ones
- retail and grocery shops
- medical services and hospitals
- pharmacy and health related retailers
- public transport
- well-maintained walking paths.
*Easily accessible includes freeway or highway access that makes the village comfortably commutable. For retail conveniences, it could mean having mobile broadband coverage and online retailers that provide same day / next day delivery to the area.
Q2. What was my first impression?
First impressions do count. Your ‘gut feeling’ will often give insight into how aligned the village is with what you’re intrinsically looking for. Take the opportunity to talk to residents when you tour the village. Ask the sales consultant to provide dates and times for Open Days and other village events that will give you an opportunity to experience the community for yourself.
Q3. What shared facilities, amenities and services are available?
Before arranging a visit, write your own prioritised list of the facilities you would ideally like available. These could include manicured gardens, walking paths, a communal vegetable patch, an indoor pool, good lighting, a gymnasium, a library, a community bus and a bowling green - just to mention some.
Q4. What organised activities are available?
Activities may include social, sporting, health and well-being, community based, or workshop related. Have your prioritised list ready, before your visit.
Q5. Has the village been designed to encourage me to be active now; while being able to age in place?
As you tour a village, imagine yourself day to day in your active immediate future, and also project ahead 10 or 20 years. For example, are there well placed safety hand rails, flat walking surfaces and emergency alarm systems? If you need to access a Home and Community Care package down the track, can you bring your package with you?
Q6. What safety and security features are in place?
If you’re planning to be spending time away holidaying, you want to feel that your home and contents are secure while your home is vacant. How safe would you feel living in the village, on your own? What security measures are in place to restrict door to door salespeople or unwanted guests? Safety and security is one of the key reasons that seniors move into a retirement village, away from their family home and a neighbourhood that has changed significantly over the years.
Relocating to a retirement village is lifestyle investment. If you have more questions about retirement village living in Victoria, please feel free to download our free eBook - ‘Retirement Villages in Victoria FAQs’.
Image: purchased from fotolia.com (thodonal)