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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, and the best way to do this is to gather information. If you feel you’re ready to downsize and are able to live independently, a retirement villa, unit or apartment could be the answer – just be sure to do your research first! At St Ives, we are always upfront and transparent about what it means to move to a retirement village, and we’d be happy to talk you through it at any time.

So what do we find our residents love most about living in a retirement village?

The clearest advantage 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.

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, sometimes including personal care, which you can assess and pay for as you require them. 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.

Last but certainly not least, affordability. 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. For instance, St Ives offers a Deferred Management Fee (DMF) which allows you to purchase your retirement villa at a significantly reduced cost. The deferred fee is not paid until you leave or sell the villa. This is a great option for those who don’t have the full purchase price upfront.

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.

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 – safety and security, for instance, and the social connectedness of living in a close and friendly community. So do your homework, do your sums, and you could find retirement living is the perfect lifestyle for you!

Talk to St Ives if you have any questions – we are very upfront about costs and services, and of course you are very welcome to visit a St Ives Retirement Village and talk to some of the residents, to see why they enjoy living at St Ives.