By Sandy Cheu on 26 September 2018

A new website has been launched to allow older Australians to compare retirement living villages and find the best possible service to suit individual needs.

The free website, CompareVillages, provides clear comparisons of costs and services at retirement villages and reduces the complexity behind accommodation pricing with an in-built calculator.

It allows users to nominate a location, the type of property they are after, the lifestyle features they would like to have and the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and carparks they require. It also allows users to select additional features, including a pet-friendly location, access to a pool, gym, restaurant or tennis court.

It showcases villages from all over Australia and enables seniors to compare retirement living fees, including entry, ongoing and departure fees.

Features of the comparative service includes:

  • listings from only retirement living communities to reduce confusion on the different services aged care facilities provide
  • filters and specific search criteria tailored to retirement living
  • showcasing different accommodation types and the features available including cleaning services and meals

The comparative website was created by retirement living lawyer Jessica Kinnear after discovering many clients experienced frustration when looking for retirement living facilities, particularly around contracts and fees.

Ms Kinnear said through her experience with retirement-living law, she encountered many seniors who were facing difficulties when they began to undertake the process of seeking retirement services.

“I increasingly became aware that people working within the industry understood it well, however people in the community did not,” Ms Kinnear told Australian Ageing Agenda.

She said the aim of the service is to “help people looking to move into a retirement community make a more informed choice.”

Ms Kinnear said there was a perception that the process to enter retirement living and residential aged care were the same, and many clients feared being ripped off due to their lack of understanding.

“It is in direct response to the need for greater transparency and simple comparison to enhance understanding and facilitate more informed decisions, and ultimately improve the experience of people looking to move into a retirement community,” Ms Kinnear said.

She said, “seniors are often neglected when it comes to online solutions to their problems.”

There was a glaringly obvious need for an online platform which helps seniors make the significant life decision of moving into a retirement community, Ms Kinnear said.

The website enables users to filter searches to narrow down services available from different providers, specifically on retirement living communities.

Lendlease, Aveo Group, Baptcare, Essendon Terrace, Japara Healthcare, Regis retirement living, RetireAustralia, and Greengate are among the retirement living providers listed on CompareVillages.

Ms Kinnear said the retirement living sector needs to have greater transparency about what’s involved in making the move to a retirement village.

“Operators needed to educate the community better and being more transparent about the fees involved would go a long way to better informing people about retirement living, and at the same time, restoring confidence in the sector,” she said.

Find out more information on CompareVillages here.