Why do people move into a retirement village? Is it a good idea? And is it worth packing up a lifetime of memories to do so?
We’ve spoken to several RetireAustralia residents and chatted to our sales team to understand what motivates people to choose a retirement village.
In fact, most of the top reasons we uncovered are aptly summed up by Margaret from Tea Tree Gardens.
“The community looks after you, you have no concerns about repairs, you have company, and you also have the safety measure of someone nearby if you need them,” she said.
Let’s dive in with the results and explore the top five reasons people move into a retirement village.
1. No home maintenance or gardening to worry about
As we age, maintaining a house and garden can become time-consuming and frustrating. If you live on a large block or have a big home, you might find that cleaning, weeding, and mowing the lawn are especially taxing.
Many residents tell us that once their children have moved out of home, the burden of home maintenance just doesn’t seem worth it.
As Margaret from Tea Tree Gardens put it,
“I couldn’t maintain a large four-bedroom house on a big corner block. My health was running through my mind. I thought, ‘if I can’t manage it now, how will I go managing in another four or five years?’”
Likewise, if something needs to be repaired in your home, you can simply call your village manager, who will arrange for it to be fixed or replaced.
In fact, after Del and her husband moved in, his favourite sound became the lawnmower outside – “because he wasn’t the one having to push it!”
2. Planning for future care needs
We often don’t appreciate our health until something changes. Many residents find that as they get older, they start to notice changes with their mobility or general health. At this point, they realise how important it is to plan for the future. Of course, we don’t want to think about a time when we might be less mobile or need support with daily tasks. But the truth is, the more we plan, the easier any transition will be.
In many cases, residents’ children or other family members start thinking about future care needs first.
This was the case for Belrose Country Club resident Colin. After his wife died, his family was worried he would fall ill and not be able to contact them. One day he tripped and hit his head, and this was the catalyst for change.
“That was when we made the decision that we needed to look for somewhere that had some support and assistance if required,” said his daughter Kym.
Now, she has “peace of mind, knowing there’s someone on duty 24 hours a day”.
Meanwhile, Sue and Gordon at Tarragal Glen are very fit and active, but wanted to plan for the future.
“We have a beautiful home and relaxed lifestyle, plus peace of mind knowing we have the option of care and extra support if we need it later on. We’re living life to the full now, and aren’t stressed about the future,” they said.
3. Safety and security
Many residents start looking at retirement villages because they’re concerned about safety, security and want to avoid becoming isolated.
“I speak with many people who’ve started to feel unsafe in their neighbourhood,” said Qld sales consultant Amy Roach. “There might be new neighbours they haven’t forged a connection with, or an increase in crime and break ins in their area. Or it might simply be down to lots of loud parties.
“Many people like the idea of leading an independent lifestyle in a village but still being part of a community, knowing there’s always someone looking out for them.”
This is true for Wisteria Grove resident Rob. He wanted a place that would be suitable for him and his dog Kylee, and he “was attracted to the quiet location and safety of village life. I also wanted a place where social interaction with neighbours is the norm.”
4. Clear financial outcome
While each retirement operator has different contracts, you can rest assured you’ll know exactly what you’re getting at a RetireAustralia village.
“We have a clear and transparent contract,” said Boambee Gardens village manager Lexi Connor. “Before people move in, they know exactly how the contract works and how much money they will walk away with.”
Like all our village managers, Lexi encourages prospective residents to come back with their loved ones, have a cup of tea and join in activities.
“I say to everybody: ‘You don’t always know where you want to live. Look at other villages and ask everyone the same questions, and I guarantee you’ll know where you don’t want to live.’”
You’ll find this same upfront approach in all our villages, and this helped Margaret from Tea Tree Gardens make her decision.
“When I was thinking of moving into a village, I added up all the costs I was going to have to pay by being in a village and I found that the village life would make me able to save money. Costs are not as extensive as maintaining my own home.”
5. Caring community
Finally, many people tell us they’re concerned about being isolated at home, particularly if their partner is unwell or has health issues.
Colin at Belrose Country Club found he was “very lonely” after his wife died.
“Since I moved here, I decided I wanted to be involved in things. I’ve developed a lot and am more outgoing than I was before I came here.”
His daughter Kim said Colin has a better social life than she does.
“The most important thing for me is that he’s happy. If he were still at home living by himself, that happiness and joy you can see on his face certainly wouldn’t be there.”
As for residents Glenn and Pam, they chose Glengowrie Retirement Village because they “wanted to live in a like-minded community … We like that everybody is friendly, there’s a community feel, and we have lovely neighbours”.