Making the decision to leave your family home and move into a retirement village is one that many senior  Australians have made. More than 184,000 Australians live in retirement villages – that’s around 5.7 percent of the over 65 population.

There are a number of important factors to consider before you make your decision, as moving into a retirement village is a significant step, and one that you want to get right. It’s vital that you take the time to consider your personal lifestyle requirements now and into the future together with the retirement living options available to you, in order to make an informed choice.

Lifestyle & Health Considerations

If you feel that it is the right time for you, ensure that you seek out the answers to any questions that you may have.

·       Understand the different types of retirement living and determine what type/s might suit your needs. Choose from a range of independent living units, serviced apartments, rental units/villages and land lease communities.

·       Once you have narrowed down your options, we recommend that you visit those retirement communities that meet your criteria, meet the village manager and, if possible, speak to the residents’ committee, to help you gauge whether you would feel comfortable living there.

·       Consider whether you want to live near your family and friends or the current area that you reside in. If not, would you like to make a location change for lifestyle reasons? If so, where to and why?

·      As your health needs may change, find out whether there are village staff and emergency systems in place, as well as whether there is an aged care facility onsite or nearby or the extent to which you can access in-home care services through the retirement village operator - they may have a partnership with an aged care provider or be an aged care provider themselves making it easier for you to access these services.

·       Every village offers different amenities. From recreational facilities that keep you active and socially engaged to onsite healthcare services such as physiotherapy or podiatry – this should make your decision-making process easier.

Financial & Legal Obligations

Before you make the commitment, ensure that you understand your legal rights and obligations and the financial implications, so that you can be confident in your decision, both in terms of lifestyle and legal and financial considerations.

·       Work out your budget before you begin your research with a financial planner. This will save you time when you begin comparing retirement villages, and you’ll be informed on how to manage your income.  

·       Find out whether the village offers different contract types. For instance, there may be a Deferred Management Fee (DMF) payable or you may be able to pay a fee upfront to avoid paying a DMF at the end. Seek expert financial advice to help you determine which contract type might best suit your circumstances as you may be able to save yourself thousands of dollars.

·      If you’re interested in a particular unit and there is a reservation fee or deposit payable, ask about whether it will be refunded if you change your mind. If you move in and don’t like living there, find out whether there is a settling-in period offered by the village or provided under legislation.

·       Obtain legal and financial advice before you sign any contracts. Determine the kind of contract you will be entering, from leasehold to strata title and more, and its implications, each retirement village differs.  

·       Find out what is included in all ongoing fees, as well as how often they’ll need to be paid during your residency and when they cease to be payable after you leave. Find out what other expenses you may need to pay to external service providers if they are not included.

Have you made the decision to move into a retirement village? If so, the team at Compare Villages work with a number of retirement villages, country wide. Our unique online comparison tool provides users with the ability to easily and comprehensively compare the lifestyle, financial and legal aspects of every retirement village listed on our platform. Unlike any other retirement village directory in Australia, we’re dedicated to providing you with the transparency needed to help you make an informed choice.