Retirement Living – Pros and Cons
People move into a retirement village for all kinds of reasons. And there are all kinds of retirement villages! When making any decision it’s important to consider the pros and cons. At St Ives, we are always upfront and transparent about what it means to move to a retirement village, so if you want an honest answer to the question ‘what are the pros and cons of retirement living?’, we’re happy to talk you through it any time. Whilst there are many advantages to enjoy when it comes to retirement living; such as safety, a sense of community, easier upkeep and a lock-and-go lifestyle, there are also downsides. It’s certainly not for everyone! For many people retirement living represents a significant shift in lifestyle and although change at any stage of life can be difficult, it’s particularly challenging in our later years.
So what should you consider before making the decision to live in a retirement village?
Advantages of retirement living
The clearest advantage of moving to a retirement village is community. In a world where people are living alone more, or away from family and friends, village life can help you feel that you are part of a real community. This can’t be underestimated. Loneliness and social isolation is a growing phenomenon amongst older Australians, with more than a quarter of those living at home living alone. Living among a community of like-minded people at a similar stage of life allows you to enjoy social contact, interaction, relaxation, security, companionship and peace of mind.
Lifestyle and convenience
In addition to independent living accommodation, retirement living provides lifestyle and convenience, with many benefits and amenities like shared gardens and community activity centres, and relatively low maintenance homes that make it easy if you want to travel. Retirement villages are also often located in desirable locations with easy access to shopping centres, public transport, and community, health and medical facilities.
Flexibility is another advantage of retirement living. Most retirement villages offer independent living units (sometimes called self-care units or apartments, or over-55 living), and provide a range of general services for the benefit of all residents. Some also offer additional services, like personal care, which you can assess and pay for as you go. So as your needs change, your access to services can also change. This future-proofing can also apply to your retirement unit, villa or apartment. Typically, retirement units will have no stairs and be easy to navigate and move around in. Other inbuilt features can help reduce falls, like carpeted floors, grab bars and seated showers, and emergency call systems are also often included.
Affordability and Standard of Living
If you do your homework, retirement living can offer an affordable and high-quality standard of living. Facilities and services can be provided to a community more efficiently than they can be provided to separate individuals, such as a pool, gym and subsidised outings, discounts at local businesses, hairdressing, fitness classes and other activities.
It’s important to understand the contract you are entering into with your retirement village. Most villages offer several models, so you can choose the one that best suits your own financial situation. You can read more about financial considerations here.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your financial adviser to obtain professional advice before you buy a retirement village unit, to ensure you are fully informed about all the legal and financial complexities.
Disadvantages of retirement living
Whilst moving to a retirement village can offer an excellent opportunity to build a social circle of like-minded individuals and strong neighbourly bonds with members of the community, for some it can mean relocating away from family and friends. The loss of important relationship connections can be isolating for many retirees, which is why location should be one of the factors most carefully considered before making a decision about living arrangements in your retirement.
The opportunity for downsizing can be a positive force for change in the lives of many people. The retirement lifestyle frequently sees people travelling more often away from home and in need of an easy to maintain, ‘lock-and-go’ dwelling. The care and maintenance requirements of larger family homes can become too much in our later years, caring for lawns and pools can put a strain on retirees. Retirement villages offer all of the amenities you’d expect in a large home, and more!
Even with that said, the need to downsize can sometimes be viewed as a negative by retirees considering moving into a village environment.
The bottom line is, people make the choice to live in retirement villages based on a range of personal and financial factors. The amenity and social aspects of retirement village living provide many benefits and advantages that a value can’t be put on. So do your homework, do your sums, and you could find retirement living is the perfect lifestyle for you!
Talk to us at St Ives if you have any questions – we are very upfront about costs and services, and of course you are welcome to visit a St Ives Retirement Village and talk to some of the residents, book a tour today!