Retirement village checklist

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There are advantages and disadvantages to living in a retirement village just as there are with any form of housing. It is important you fully understand what you are agreeing to and what the legal and financial implications are for you and your partner on entering, living in and leaving a village.

You need to consider current and future accommodation needs carefully. The move might involve a significant change to your lifestyle. Moving from a suburban block, or even acreage, to a relatively high density village arrangement can require a considerable adjustment. Community living has many benefits, but it also involves some trade-offs. You also need to consider any exit fees as these can make it financially difficult for you to leave if you find you do not enjoy communal living or if you discover you need a higher level of care such as that provided in an aged care facility

Take a moment to consider the following questions to help you decide whether living in a retirement village is right for you:

  • Do I think my temperament will be suited to communal living with neighbours at close quarters?
  • Am I sure that the lifestyle of the village (including social activities and any religious affiliation) will suit me?
  • Have I thought about what it will mean to live in a community of elderly residents who will continue to age while I am living there?
  • Will I miss having younger people around me?
  • Will I make good use of the communal facilities and amenities provided?
  • Will my furniture fit in a smaller residence?
  • Can I afford the recurrent and other ongoing expenses associated with retirement village living?
  • Can I cope with letting other people make decisions about the village, including financial matters?
  • If my health is failing, should I actually be considering a move to residential aged care?

The best way to find out whether a retirement village is right for you is to visit the village as many times as you need to in order to satisfy yourself it is what you want. Talk to village management and current residents, particularly members of any residents’ committee, and carefully observe daily life in the village.

After you've read the information you are required to receive, here are some questions you should get answers to, before making any decisions about which village is right for you.

  • Is the village well maintained, secure, well lit and safe?
  • What type of transport is available and is nursing and/or medical care close by?
  • Is the complex close enough for family and friends to visit?
  • Is there adequate parking for residents and visitors around the village? Is the village close to facilities that I use such as public transport, doctors, shops, entertainment, libraries or churches? Who is responsible to insure the unit/complex and what will happen if the village is damaged or destroyed?
  • Who is responsible to pay for repair or refurbishment of the unit?
  • What types of accommodation and amenities are offered? What are my ownership and occupancy rights?
  • What are the entry, ongoing and departure costs?
  • What are the rules about pets, visitors and car parking?
  • Will I have my own garden? Will I have sufficient privacy?
  • Is there space for a caravan or boat?
  • What sort of compensation (if any) will you receive for any additions or improvements you make to your unit?
  • Are meals available? Where, how often and at what cost?
  • Is there a common dining room? Can I bring my own meals to eat there? Can I invite guests?
  • Can I get any assistance with minor maintenance issues eg changing light bulbs or tap washers? Is there a charge for this?
  • What happens if I re-marry or re-partner?
  • Is there a functioning residents’ committee?
  • What facilities are available if I become sick?
  • Will the village meet my needs in the future if I require additional assistance? Can I relocate within the village and what would this cost?
  • What happens if I need to move to residential aged care?
  • What happens to my partner if I move to aged care? What are the financial implications if I want to leave?
  • Is there provision for a reserve/sinking fund to ensure the village is properly maintained over the long term?
  • Are there any plans to re-develop the village or surrounding area?
  • How long, on average, is it taking to sell or re-lease units in this village?

Senior housing guide 

Detailed information about housing options for those over 55.

Seniors housing guide

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