Moving to a retirement village is not only a lifestyle decision, it's also a financial one. Extremely high exit fees can mean you may not have enough money left over to seek alternative or more suitable accommodation if you find it unsuitable.
About 5% of Australians aged 65 and older live in retirement villages. Retirement villages are a growing sector, with the number of villages increasing by more than 8.5% over the three years to July 2010. The majority of accommodation options in a retirement village are independent living units; only about 7% are serviced apartments. While independent living units can give you the option to purchase services such as meals and cleaning, a retirement village is usually not suitable if you need a high level of care - in that case, consider a nursing home.
Many of the services available in a retirement village can also be accessed from your own home, especially if you move to a low-maintenance unit. You can get in a cleaner or gardener, order Meals on Wheels, receive daily calls from Red Cross and have an emergency button installed.
Retirement village residents such as Merryl often mention the lifestyle and community spirit as one of the reasons they enjoy living in their village. “It feels as though we live in a resort,” she says. “The people are extremely friendly and there is a tremendous spirit. We have a wonderful manager and an active social committee.”
Tip: Contact your local council to find out what activities and services are available for older people in your local area.
Want to know more about income-for-life options? See our recent report about this range of retirement products.