Residents of Australia’s retirement villages are emerging as unsung heroes, contributing to saving taxpayers almost $1 billion in healthcare costs by delaying their entry into aged care, according to a report launched by the Retirement Living Council (RLC).
The report, titled Better Housing for Better Health, sheds light on the pivotal role played by the retirement living industry in addressing two of the nation’s most pressing issues – the housing crisis and the rapidly ageing population.
Contrary to common misconceptions, the report emphasises the distinct value of the retirement living sector, showcasing its affordability amidst an otherwise unattainable housing market.
RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon underscored the importance of recognising the positive impact retirement communities have on their residents’ lives and the country as a whole.
“Retirement villages across Australia are already saving the government a billion dollars a year, by delaying residents’ entry into aged care, and quite simply, we need more of them,” Gannon said.
“People who live in retirement communities are less lonely and less depressed than older Australians who live independently, because retirement communities encourage physical wellbeing and social interaction – which all translates to economic benefits for governments.
“For the first time, this report shows how our sector has actual solutions to Australia’s two biggest worrying trends – our housing crisis and our rapidly ageing population.”
Key findings from the report highlight the economic benefits generated by retirement villages, including an annual reduction of $945 million in national aged care expenditure due to the delayed entry of approximately 11,600 individuals into residential aged care by two years.
Moreover, residents of these communities experience a 20 per cent decrease in hospitalisation rates within nine months, preventing a staggering 14,000 annual hospitalisations.
The report also unveils the positive impact on residents’ well-being, with retirement community residents being 15 per cent more physically active, 41 per cent happier, and both physically and mentally healthier.
They are five times more socially active, twice as likely to engage with family or friends, and demonstrate reduced levels of depression and loneliness, resulting in nearly $5 million in savings on additional healthcare costs.
The report stands as a testament to the transformative potential of retirement villages in shaping a healthier, more economically viable future for Australia.
While retirement villages offer many advantages, it’s crucial for retirees to weigh the pros and cons carefully to ensure this living option suits their needs.
Some of the pros and cons that come with this option include: