Many people dread moving into a nursing home as they get older, but there are now options that can allow us to age well and delay the move for much longer.
From help with household chores to meal delivery, the majority of our ageing needs can now be met in a comfortable serviced apartment in a retirement village, and a recent study* has shown that on average, these residents will move into aged care five years later than the general public.
What is a serviced apartment?
So just what is a serviced apartment? Well, if you’re still out and about and enjoying life but want an easier lifestyle where you don’t have to do the shopping, cooking and household chores, a serviced apartment could be the perfect option for you.
The services available may vary from provider to provider, but RetireAustralia’s serviced apartments offer:
· Three meals per day
· 24 hour on-site staff
· Cleaning and laundry services
· Access to all communal facilities
· Access to many social activities and events
Serviced apartments are securely housed within one building, similar to a hotel, and range in size from studio to two bedrooms. Many have a kitchenette for basic food preparation and some also have secure parking and a private courtyard or balcony.
RetireAustralia’s Supported Residential Facility Manager, Di Talbot, says, “Most members of the public think that aged care is where everyone’s heading but serviced apartments can provide a great alternative for those who are relatively well.”
Di estimates that serviced apartment living meets around 70 to 80 per cent of residents’ needs and says that they can use external agencies and homecare packages to supply any additional services.
Stability and peace of mind
Another advantage of serviced apartment living, according to Di, is that you cannot be moved around.
“This is great for couples,” says Di, “because if one partner gets sick or passes away, the other person can stay in the apartment for as long as they choose. In an aged care facility, people are moved around quite often to suit the facility.”
“In addition, couples can often stay together even if they need different levels of care because we help them work out how to get the medical support that’s needed.”
“I knew of a couple where one partner became ill and the hospital convinced them that they needed to move to an aged care facility. They moved and within two weeks, they were separated,” she says.
“The couple’s family told us we should let more people know about our policy to keep couples together because it is just so important.”
It’s more affordable than you think
If you live in a serviced apartment in a RetireAustralia village, you’ll pay a monthly fee to cover the cost of all services along with building insurance, village and garden maintenance and land, electricity, gas and water rates.
Many people find serviced apartment living to be comparable or cheaper to living in their own home. Talk to one of our consultants and ask them for a cost of living flyer so you can do your own analysis of what you would pay in a serviced apartment and what you’re paying at home. You’ll often find it’s more affordable than you think.
In addition, because RetireAustralia’s serviced apartments are privately owned, no ACAT assessment or means test is required before moving in.
Caring staff members
RetireAustralia has a dedicated team of staff at all of its villages who liaise closely with each resident’s family and medical professionals to ensure the resident’s health and wellbeing is optimised at all times.
According to Di, the continuity of staff at RetireAustralia is one of the greatest advantages to serviced apartment living.
“Aged care facilities rely on agencies and their staff move around a lot. At RetireAustralia, we employ permanent staff so the resident gets continuity. This is a lot better as people get to know each other and it’s very comforting,” she says.
Pet- and family-friendly serviced apartments
Many of RetireAustralia’s serviced apartments are pet-friendly, unlike most aged care facilities, and there is a focus on creating an environment that is warm, welcoming and pleasant. According to Di, this can foster greater connection with loved ones.
“If your family and grandchildren have to walk through a nursing home to see you, quite often the younger ones can stop coming as often. It’s easier for families to visit a serviced apartment in a retirement village as it’s a nicer environment and much more family-oriented.”
How long can you stay in a serviced apartment?
RetireAustralia’s staff provide a personalised level of care that often helps residents stay independent for longer. If their needs change or they begin to require a higher level of medical attention, then it may be beneficial to consider moving into an aged care facility.
To find out if you’re eligible for aged care, the first thing you need to do is book a free ACAT assessment. Simply look up your local Aged Care Assessment Team by visiting the government’s aged care website.
The ACAT assessor will talk to you about your current situation and work out if you are eligible to receive government-subsidised aged care services. They will also tell you what level of aged care you are suited for.
While moving into aged care may be necessary for a number of people at some stage of their lives, serviced apartment living can be an ideal alternative that fosters wellbeing and community connection within a positive and caring environment.
Would a serviced apartment be a good option for you? Well, here’s what two serviced apartment residents from RetireAustralia’s Tarragal Manor in Erina, NSW, had to say about their experiences:
“I have found The Manor very good. It’s the overall package that is attractive – the domestic services, cleaning and meals – and I have met some lovely people.
I am not a great socialite but it’s great to have the company. You can make your own choice – if you want to be involved in everything you can.”
Tarragal Manor in Erina, NSW, resident since 2012.
Tarragal Glen resident since 1998.
“When my husband died I was lonely and not eating properly – usual old story! I hate cooking for myself so I decided to come over to The Manor where I knew I could have a lovely apartment and be as free as I like.
I didn’t realise it was going to be so very pleasant to be waited on every day but be independent still. It’s like a hotel.”
Tarragal Manor resident since 2013.
Tarragal Glen resident since 2001.
*Property Council of Australia, National overview of the retirement village sector