Retirement Villages: Yes or No?


For a whole bunch of reasons, I’m looking at selling my home in one of MeIbourne's Bayside suburbs in the next 12 months. One option available to me is buying into one of the many Retirement Villages in Melbourne. So let me share some thoughts:

Let's clear the air - retirement living is not aged care! It's a choice driven by lifestyle, not necessity. Unlike aged care, it isn't government-funded, and the decision to call a retirement village home is all about the pursuit of a vibrant, independent life. The move into a retirement village often delays the need for aged care. Residents typically receive in-home aged care services at an older age and enter aged care facilities several years later than those who don't reside in retirement villages. Why is this? I suspect there is three reasons: social engagement, a sense of community, and the various activities on offer.

Social interaction is the heartbeat of retirement villages. The camaraderie, shared experiences, and the friendly faces create an environment which limits loneliness. Village residents received in-home aged care services at an average age two years older than their non-village counterparts. They also delayed entry into aged care facilities by an impressive four to five years! This prolonged independence is a result of the supportive, nurturing environments within these communities.

Purpose-built designs, with age-appropriate amenities such as ramps and railings, mitigate accidents. In addition, the lifestyle features embedded in these communities have a profound impact on health. Staying socially and physically active, along with engaging in mentally stimulating activities, significantly reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

So there is a really strong case for me taking the plunge and buying into a retirement village. But I do have one major concern - I fear that my world will get much smaller and that I’ll miss the diversity found in a regular environment. And that could impact on my health too!

I’d be interested in your thoughts…
There is another important point you didn't mention. We decided not to purchase a unit in a Retirement Village because when you eventually "leave" (sic) and the unit is sold, your estate only reasons a fraction of any capital gain. We want to leave our son an inheritance, so decided to purchase a regular single-story unit, which is close to a public hospital. When our unit is eventually sold, our estate will receive the full value of the capital gain.