Retirement home crisis imminent, report claims

couple holding hands
The 2017 Retirement Census says more needs to be done on retirement living.

Australian retirement villages are almost at full capacity and many seniors will be left out in the cold if the government doesn’t take action soon, the Property Council of Australia says.

Retirement villages around the country are at 93 per cent capacity, according to the 2017 Retirement Census released on Tuesday, leaving little room for the next wave of over 60s to find accomodation at facilities.

Ben Myers, Executive Director of Retirement Living at the Property Council of Australia, said Australia is in desperate need of more age-appropriate housing for seniors.

“Nearly 200,000 senior Australians have made the informed choice to choose retirement village living, and this number is set to grow sharply in the coming decade,” Myers said.

“Many existing homes just aren’t suitable for our seniors to ‘age in place’; often they are older, contain trip hazards and very difficult to maintain. There must be more housing options for senior Australians, especially in our biggest cities where demand is at its highest, so people can live independently for longer.”

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The shortage in retirement village accomodation is partly tied to land issues, where the retirement sector is routinely outbid by property developers who can pay more for a piece of land.

The lack of supply, coupled with increasing demand, means retirement villages are able to charge a premium price for a their services. This can place extra financial burden on seniors who are already trying to pinch pennies in retirement years.

Myers said state governments needed to initiate policy changes to make it easier for new retirement villages to be developed.

“We are currently conducting research into planning barriers that are stifling the development of new retirement living accommodation and look forward to working with states to urgently solve this bottleneck.

“While entry into retirement villages remains affordable, but a lack of supply will put upward pressure on prices and make access to villages for seniors much harder.”

Would you ever live in a retirement village? Have you thought about where you want to live as you get older?