As we age, many of us start to consider our living options for the future. Retirement villages have become a popular choice for seniors looking for a community-oriented and low-maintenance lifestyle. But like any major decision, there are pros and cons to consider before making the move. Let's explore the benefits and drawbacks of retirement villages to help you make an informed decision.
The basics: what is a retirement village?
A retirement village is a housing complex designed for seniors who are able to live independently but want access to amenities and services that cater to their needs. These communities often offer a range of housing options, from apartments to one, two and three + bedroom townhouses or villas, and provide a variety of services and activities for residents.
Retirement villages offer a range of benefits for seniors, including:
Community and socialisation: Retirement villages provide a built-in community of peers, making it easier for seniors to socialise and make new friends. This can be especially beneficial for those who may have lost a spouse or live far from family.
Low-maintenance living: Many retirement villages offer services such as lawn care, housekeeping, and maintenance, freeing up time for residents to enjoy their hobbies and interests.
Access to amenities: Retirement villages often have amenities such as fitness centres, pools, community spaces and mens sheds, providing opportunities for residents to stay active and engaged.
Safety and security: Retirement villages often have security measures in place, such as gated entrances and emergency call systems, providing peace of mind for residents and their families.
Healthcare services: Some retirement villages offer on-site healthcare services, such as assisted living or memory care, providing a continuum of care for residents as they age.
While there are many benefits to retirement villages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:
Cost: Retirement villages can be expensive, with DMF and weekly fees that may not be feasible for everyone. It's important to carefully consider the financial implications before making a decision. Capital will also need to be freed up to buy your property outright.
Lack of independence: Some retirement villages have rules and regulations that may limit residents' independence, such as restrictions on pets or visitors. It's important to research and understand the policies of a retirement village before moving in.
Limited healthcare options: While some retirement villages offer on-site healthcare services, others may not have the same level of care available. This can be a concern for seniors who may need more assistance as they age.
Potential for isolation: While retirement villages offer a built-in community, some seniors may find it difficult to connect with their peers or may feel isolated if they don't fit in with the community.
Is a retirement village right for you?
Ultimately, the decision to move to a retirement village is a personal one that depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
Your budget: Retirement villages can be expensive, so it's important to carefully consider your budget and whether you can afford the DMF and weekly fees plus associated insurances.
Your desired level of independence: If you value your independence and don't want to be restricted by rules and regulations, a retirement village may not be the best fit for you.
Your social needs: A retirement village may be a great option for you if you're looking for a built-in community and enjoy socialising with your peers.
Your future healthcare needs: It's important to consider your potential future healthcare needs and whether the retirement village you're considering can accommodate them.
Your location preferences: Retirement villages are located in various areas, so it's important to research the location and determine if it's a place you'd like to live.
Alternatives to retirement villages If a retirement village doesn't seem like the right fit for you, there are other options to consider:
Aging in place: Many seniors choose to stay in their own homes and make modifications to accommodate their changing needs. This can be a more affordable option for those on a budget and who can't manage the upheaval of leaving a home they have lived in for an extended time. You could consider employing external help for some tasks which get trickier as you age. Age Concern provides a helpful directory of organisations, groups and services in Canterbury who can support this choice - https://ageconcerncan.org.nz/directory-category/home-care/
Assisted living facilities: Assisted living facilities offer a higher level of care than retirement villages and may be a better fit for those who need more assistance with daily tasks.
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs): CCRCs offer a continuum of care, from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing care. This can be a good option for those who want to age in place and have access to different levels of care as needed.
Yay or nay?
Retirement villages offer a range of benefits for seniors, including community, low-maintenance living, and access to amenities, but they may not be the right fit for everyone. It's important to carefully consider your options before making a decision. Ultimately, the best living option for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Many villages offer open days and personalised tours to give you more of a feel for their community. It is a great idea to chat with local residents to get some inside knowledge of various villages, or for independent reviews and ratings on your shortlist, visit their page at agedadvisor.nz