The most googled questions about retirement villages

Moving into a retirement village is a big decision so we've put together answers to the most googled questions about retirement villages – so you have all the answers in one place.

Retirement Villages Australia

At RetireAustralia, we understand that moving into a retirement village is a big financial and lifestyle decision.

Like any big decision, it is best made when you have all the information at your fingertips. To help you with your research we’ve put together answers to the most googled questions about retirement villages in Australia so that you can make an informed decision about the community you choose to call home for life’s next chapter.

What is a retirement village?

A retirement village is a residential community that is specifically designed and built for older people. Retirement villages are especially popular with both singles and couples who want more security and support while still living independently as they age.

In a retirement village, you will enjoy the privacy and space of living in your own home without the worry of day-to-day property maintenance or gardening. Residents in a retirement village also have access to a range of facilities, activities and social events.

Another major feature of retirement village living in Australia is the sense of community, with residents creating an informal support network and social groups. Increasingly, you will also find that a retirement village will offer flexible care and support which means you can continue living in your own home as you age and your care and support needs increase.

Retirement villages are different to aged care facilities. Nursing homes cater for people who need full-time care and can no longer live independently. Moving into aged care often occurs following a significant health incident, or when it’s considered necessary for one’s health and safety, it is rarely by choice.

In contrast to a nursing home, moving into a retirement village should be a choice at a time in an individual’s life where they can benefit from all that retirement village living has to offer.

What age to move into a retirement community?

Generally, the minimum age to move into a retirement village or retirement community is 55 years old. At RetireAustralia, the entry age of residents across our retirement villages varies, but on average, residents tend to be in their seventies when they move into a retirement village. The age of residents in a retirement village can be broad depending on their motivations for moving.

What do retirement communities cost?

If you’re thinking of moving into a retirement village, there are lots of things to weigh up and costs are one of the biggest considerations. Apart from day-to-day living costs, there are three main costs to consider when moving into a retirement village, the entry fee, the monthly service fee and the exit fee.

Entry fee

The entry fee is the upfront price you pay to live in your home in a retirement village. The amount will depend on the size, style and location of your chosen home. Unlike most property transactions, you will not pay stamp duty on your new home. This equates to a significant cost saving on entry.

Monthly service fee

The monthly service fee covers village operating costs, such as council and water rates, building insurance, home and garden maintenance, upkeep of shared facilities, and support staff such as the Village Manager.

By law, retirement village operators cannot profit from this fee which is charged on a cost-recovery basis only. You can also rest assured that it can’t be increased by greater than the Consumer Price Index without the approval of village residents. For further peace of mind, service fees are audited by an independent party each year.

It’s also good to know what is not included in the service. Things like your electricity, gas, household contents insurance or personal expenses such as telephone, internet and health care are not included in service fees.

Exit Fee

The exit fee (also called the departure fee or deferred management fee) is payable when you leave the village.

By charging this on exit – rather than incorporating it into the purchase price – you’ll not only free up your cashflow but find that your move into the village is much more affordable.

It’s important to note that the exit fee is the only charge that allows the retirement village operator to reinvest back into your village through capital replacement works, maintenance of communal facilities, and village upgrades. This helps maintain value in your home and community, which is important when it comes time to sell.

What’s more, in a RetireAustralia village, you’ll know the exact exit fee you’ll pay before you move in, making your future budgeting clear and predictable.

How do you get into a retirement village?

Unlike aged care facilities, which often have a long waitlist, getting into a retirement village is a bit like purchasing a home. The only time you would need to put your name on a waitlist is if there are no properties available at your chosen retirement village.

To get into a retirement village, start by making an appointment. You can use this time to tour the retirement village and view available homes. Talk to the Sales Consultant and the Village Manager to gather information, review pricing, inclusions, costs and to get a feel for the community.

Once you have found your chosen retirement village and property, you will need to place a deposit to secure your new home. Under RetireAustralia’s independent living unit residence contract, your deposit is fully refundable if you change your mind within the statutory cooling-off period.

Once you receive your contract, we recommended that you seek independent legal and financial advice. Also, consider discussing the contract with your family members so that everyone understands your rights and responsibilities.

Your contract will detail all the fees and what to expect when buying, while living with us and when you leave. At RetireAustralia, we’re upfront about our offering. You’ll always know what you’re signing up for before you get to the dotted line.

Once your contract is signed and agreed upon, you can officially move into your new home.

Can you rent a unit in a retirement village?

Generally, retirement villages do not offer the option to rent. However, there is a range of retirement villages with accommodation options to suit most lifestyles and budgets.

How to choose a retirement home

There are several factors to consider when choosing a retirement home, here are just a few:

  • Location: Decide on a location that will be the best fit for your lifestyle and the things that are important to you. Is it close to family and friends? Is it close to public transport and local amenities?  Is it in a familiar suburb?
  • Availability of care and support: Consider your future care and support needs. Should your needs change, will you have access to in-home home care services? How about the ability to transition into a serviced apartment within the same retirement village?
  • Amenities: If you have specific passions or hobbies, look for a retirement village that will enable you to pursue them.
  • Property features: Look out for age-friendly design features which will enable you to live comfortably and independently in your home both now and in the future. Consider features like ovens and kitchen cupboards set at waist height or higher for ease of use; no, or very few steps or stairs; wider hallways and door openings; and reinforced walls to allow for later installation of grab rails.

The best way to get a feel for a retirement village is to make an appointment and go and visit. This will allow you to experience the village first hand. You can gather information and speak to existing residents to find out what retirement village life is really like.

Who can live in a retirement village?

Anyone who is 55 and over can live in a retirement village, however we find that residents in our villages are usually around in their lates 70s to early 80s when they move in. In the majority of villages, pets are welcome too!

In a retirement village friends and family are welcome to visit you and to stay over, however they cannot live with you.

If you have dependents in your care that need to live with you, exceptions can be made in some circumstances, this would need to be discussed with the retirement village operator and agreed upon before you move in.

How retirement villages work

Retirement villages offer the safety and security of village life along with ample opportunity to connect with a like-minded community.

In a retirement village, you have the benefits and privacy of having your own spacious home without worrying about maintenance or gardening which are taken care of by village staff. This gives you more time and the freedom to do the things that you enjoy.

Retirement villages are hubs of activity with plenty of opportunities for social connection. The amenities in each retirement village vary and can include a library, café gym, barbecue area, bar, workshop, billiards room, bowls green, tennis court, craft room, hairdressing salon, medical consulting room and a community centre. Village amenities can satisfy whatever it is that sparks your interest, and you can participate in as much or as little as you like.

Should you ever face health challenges, you can rest easy knowing that you can access flexible care and support to you in your own home as and when you need it. This will help you to stay safely in your own home for longer.

Do you pay rates in a retirement village?

Rates are paid by all property owners. Rates help pay for services provided by councils, for example, maintaining local roads, council facilities, parks and gardens. The amount you need to pay is usually calculated based on the value of your property.

In a RetireAustralia community, your rates are included in your monthly service fee. However, it is always best to double-check as in some retirement villages rates may be charged rates separately.

Can visitors stay with me?

Visitors are more than welcome to stay with you in a retirement village. After all it is your home!

Are pets allowed?

Many retirement villages are pet friendly. In fact, at RetireAustralia we consider pets to be part of the family and they are welcome to move in with their owners at the majority of our retirement villages.

What care and support is available?

Living in a RetireAustralia retirement village, you’ll have access to tailored care and support as you transition through life’s stages. You will always have the dignity of choice, allowing you to maintain control of the way your life unfolds.

Independent Living

Available in all retirement villages, independent living units are ideal if you want the freedom and independence of life one your terms with the safety net of a secure, like-minded community.

With no home or garden maintenance to worry about, you’ll have all the time and opportunity to enjoy the things you love. Whether you prefer keeping busy, relaxing, or both, there’s something for everyone.

Homes are also fitted with a 24-hour emergency call system, providing you piece of mind someone is available in case of an emergency.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments support you to keep doing what you love, no matter your age or ability. They are perfect if your care needs become higher and you need extra support but want to continue living freely alongside your friends and family in a familiar community.

In a serviced apartment your meals are provided and your linen laundry, and apartment clean are taken care of. There are also staff on-site 24 hours a day.

Home Care

Home Care services can make life a little easier and give you peace of mind that, should your needs change, you can continue to stay safely in your own home for longer.

At most RetireAustralia villages our experienced Home Care team can help you with household chores, meal preparation, showering, dressing, and medication support, to name a few. Home Care is tailored to your individual needs and funded privately or through an approved government-funded Home Care Package (HCP). We can even help you navigate HCP approval through My Aged Care, the government assistance platform.

Respite Care

If you are recovering from illness, injury, or you live in your own home but need a little extra care and support in the short term, respite care could be the answer. For a small daily fee, you can access respite care in communities across the New South Wales Central Coast and Adelaide.

Are there lots of rules?

Our residents tell us that they don’t think there are a lot of rules and the ones that there are, are based on common sense and respect.

To discover in retirement living is right for you, download the FREE RetireReady guide.

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With 29 unique locations across three states, RetireAustralia's communities cater to a range of needs and preferences.