Ageing in Place and Retirement Villages

A phrase that is being thrown about more frequently is “ageing in place”. It refers to the desire to continue to live in the community independently with assistance where required, rather than in residential aged care.  

I would argue that no accommodation option promotes ageing in place better than retirement villages, which offer a community of peers, various recreational and social activities, homecare and support services and lifestyle benefits.

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether a retirement village is the right choice for you.

This includes:

1. Cost

There will usually be:

  • a payment on moving into the village (a “ingoing contribution” or purchase price) normally in the form of an interest-free loan to the operator;
  • ongoing fees called recurrent charges which pay for the upkeep of the village, communal facilities, and insurance, rates and council fees;
  • a departure fee which is usually based on a percentage of the ingoing contribution you paid or which the next resident pays; and
  • fees to pay for restoration of the home and legal fees to end the arrangement.

Many retirement village operators now offer different payment packages which can allow you to fund your accommodation in a way that suits you best.

Moving into a retirement village will often involve down-sizing. This may be important when maintaining a large family home becomes too expensive and difficult.

There is also the benefit of communal living where the costs of insurance, rates, and services are shared among all the residents.

2. Location

One of the advantages of moving into a retirement village is that they are usually situated in desirable locations and the price of moving into a retirement village home will normally be about 75 per cent of the price it would cost to buy in that location.

Some villages will also be within walking distance of local shops and attractions to cater to residents who cannot drive or who have mobility problems.

3. Facilities and Services

Ageing in place is all about enjoying as much independence as possible. This will involve addressing those issues that make it harder to live independently such as the need for domestic, care and medical support and restricted mobility.

Retirement villages are primarily self-care, meaning that you look after yourself and make decisions for yourself but have access to facilities and services that make it easier for you to continue to look after yourself. These include:

A range of facilities in close proximity to the residences, such as communal gardens, BBQ areas, a library, a gym, etc. These facilities allow residents to continue to be active in the community even when their health may make leaving the village difficult.

A safe and secure community made up of their peers, usually with rules relating to noise, use of common property, visitors and pets.

Various services will usually be available such as on-site hairdressing, laundry, meals, house cleaning, yard maintenance, and medical alerts.

Increasingly, people are recognising the value of ageing in place as a way to retain independence longer and postpone a move into residential aged care. Retirement Villages are designed to facilitate this.

There are a lot of retirement villages on the market that let you shop around and compare prices, locations, facilities and services, to find the village and home that is right for you.

This information will be contained in various documents such as the disclosure statement, loan agreement, lease and other documents. These documents can be hard to navigate, and it can be difficult to know what your rights and obligations are.

That is where we come in. We offer expert advice in relation to retirement village law and contracts. We can help you chose the right village and payment plan, understand the complex retirement village contracts, and facilitate a smooth settlement.

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The information in this article is not legal advice and is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your particular circumstance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.