Ageing Gracefully: Picking the Right Retirement Village For You
“Life begins at retirement.” – Author unknown
After spending countless hours at work and on the daily commute, life indeed begins at retirement. It is a time with less stress, heartache and pressure. Since you have already retired from your professional career, the hunt for a new dwelling place begins. Of course, you want a place where you can relax, mingle and spend your golden days in peace.
Retirement villages are becoming a popular option for many senior citizens. These villages are specifically designed to give them independence, a better quality of life and good aged care services. Just like sheltered housing and nursing homes, retirement villages also offer facilities which can cater to their unique needs. As Raine Dinale pointed out in her article, “mismanagement of medications can be life threatening”.
Picking the right retirement village can be a challenge. With the different range of amenities and services available, navigating through a maze of options can leave you overwhelmed. We prepared a guide to help you find the perfect village:
Create a checklist
Before you go looking for a retirement village, here are some points to consider:
- How much will it cost?
- Will I have sufficient privacy?
- Are there meals available or should I cook my own?
- Is the village close enough for friends and family to visit?
- Who will be responsible for my unit’s refurbishment or repair?
- Are there available transport services within the complex?
- What other fees should I pay for once I become a village resident?
- Do they have a medical facility and care available for emergencies?
- What are my occupancy and ownership rights once I move into my residence?
- What types of amenities and accommodation is available for residents and their guests?
In addition to these, it is important to consider your personal taste, comfort and emotional needs. Remember that each village or community has their own specialties and services. Ask around and do a little research to narrow down your options.
Consider your budget
One of the most essential parts of picking a retirement village is your budget. Since these villages offer different types of services and accommodation, you need to know how much you can afford to pay. Typically, these fees and charges include:
- Management fees,
- Initial purchase price,
- Contributions for the reserve fund,
- Exit fees or a Deferred Management Fee (DMF), and
- Monthly service fees (for the village’s operating costs).
Before signing anything, clarify all the fees and charges you need to pay. It is important to keep it realistic to avoid overspending.
Examine the contract and seek legal advice
There are several differences between buying a residential property and buying into a retirement village. Most of these villages offer different types of contractual agreements. These contracts depend on the services and facilities offered. Below are some examples of the most common retirement village contracts:
- Unit trust
- Strata title
- Company title
- Periodic tenancy
- Long-term lease or license
In some cases, retirement villages offer mixed contractual agreements. One resident may hold a unit trust while the other is under a long-term license agreement.
Seek legal advice when examining contracts. These can be long, complex and confusing at times. A good lawyer or financial adviser can help you understand everything. They can explain its conditions and possible financial implications. Careful consideration is vital before signing any agreements.
Tips on making the most out of living in a retirement village
Making the most out of your golden years in a retirement village is important. It is a beginning of a new chapter in your life and you should enjoy it. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your retirement years:
- Establish a daily routine to keep your mind and body busy.
- Keep a positive attitude towards everyone in the community. If you do, you will never feel or be alone.
- Create your own “personal space” within your new place. This can help remove any anxieties and discomfort associated with living in a new environment.
- Always keep your family and friends in the loop. They are your strongest support system.
- Talk to people and socialise. Meet your neighbours and have a chat with them. Mingle and observe the community. This is the right time to create new bonds and enjoy retirement.
- Introduce yourself to the village’s staff. Get to know them and be friendly with them. The more they get to know you, the better they can attend to your needs.
- Open up yourself and immerse in the community. Participate in the activities which interest you and learn new things. Get involved in village projects and eventually, you will become a part of the community.
Living in a retirement village is a milestone for any retiree. Bearing these tips in mind can help reduce the anxieties of living in a new environment.
Picking the right retirement village is more than just choosing a home’s layout – it is all about what makes you happy. It should also meet your recreational, social, cultural and health needs. As long as the place “feels right” for you, go ahead and pick it out!
Anna Francesca is an avid writer, who enthusiastically explores about consumer passions as a catalyst for lifestyle and enterprise opportunities. She is also a music geek, a fan of European languages, an ardent reader, and very gung-ho on all things new and interesting. She occasionally writes for Seasons Care – offers retirement or nursing homes in Australia.