Retirement Village, Lifestyle Village or Care Home

Posted on : May 03, 2022

Retirement Village, Lifestyle Village or Care Home?
What's the difference? 
Retirement living encompasses a vast expanse of options. Within this range, sits lifestyle villages, retirement villages, and care homes - each with their own subtle or not so subtle differences. 
Jessica Swan explains.
The fundamental differences between the three options centre around the independence available to residents, the financial structure, the community environment and the care services available.
In retirement villages, there is a high level of independence for residents. While there is the opportunity to maintain social interaction, residents often keep a separate home or unit. Likewise, lifestyle villages offer both communal spaces and separate private areas.
Contrastingly, care homes cater to those who are dependent on assistance to fulfil daily tasks or activities. The facilities are focused on taking care of the basic needs an individual requires to be as hygienic and healthy as possible. Therefore, there is very little independence for residents.
Financially, retirement living very rarely offers lucrative opportunities for residents. In retirement villages, the initial price you pay includes the right to occupy your home and a contribution towards the use of communal facilities. Residents will also pay an ongoing general service charge for the maintenance of these shared spaces. There is often a large deferred management fee when you exit the village too which redirects generally between 20-30% of the original price back into the village. Because of this, residents will end up with less capital (and no profit).
For lifestyle villages, the initial price you pay includes the cost of your home and the cost of leasing the land it was built on. However, the ongoing costs are often higher than the ‘general service charges’ residents pay in a retirement village. This is because retirement villages can’t legally profit from the general service charges, while the governing bodies of a lifestyle village can. This said, lifestyle village residents are likely to pay less again when they exit the village in the deferred management fee (DMF). 
Fees for care homes are mostly inclusive of all the food, accommodation and services a resident needs. Rather than owning a property or home, residents are generally housed in a smaller more intimate environment where they pay the cost of the resources they use and the facilities they need.
Retirement and lifestyle villages both offer a strong community environment for their residents. This is achieved through having communal and separate spaces for the residents to take advantage of.
Providing shared facilitates gives residents the luxury of having other people maintain communal lawns, gardens and recreational centres. Consequently, their time can be focused on activities and social events the village manager organises. This balance – of residents organising their own home but also utilising shared areas – is a large selling point for the village lifestyle.   
Care homes, while also housing many people of a similar age and life-stage, focus more on individuals staying healthy and safe due to their medical and wellbeing needs. There are still scheduled events and shared meal times for residents, but the types of activities will be designed for consumption rather than participation a lot of the time. 
Care Facilities
The care available in a retirement village can be quite varied, generally providing access to a wide range of facilities depending on what an individual resident needs. This could include a hospital or dementia care. These services will come as extra cost to the ongoing fees already being paid for the maintenance of the village. Sometimes, retirement villages will have the benefit of tiered options available. This allows for residents to move to care suites if necessary within the same village and community. 
Lifestyle villages stereotypically have less extensive care available to residents, functioning at a much higher level of self-care and independence. As a result, retirement and lifestyle villages often lose residents to care homes if they do become significantly unwell or unable to care for themselves. However, both village environments will have 24/7 support available if needed in an emergency and this takes care of sudden or unexpected medical ailments.  
As per the name, care homes are designed to support retirees who have significant or ongoing health issues that require regular and external treatment. This means they are unable to fulfil the medical or wellbeing requirements without the consistent and rostered support of care staff, including qualified nurses in some cases. Care homes may also have specialist functions, such as housing people with dementia or a specific illness. However, care villages will often cover a variety of needs. 
Ultimately, all retirement living offers unique preferable opportunity for residents depending on their needs and preferences. The key is to do your research, visit the home yourself and contact us with any questions you may have.