The one thing every over 60 needs to know about retirement living 28



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Here at Starts at 60 we endeavour to bring you information on everything that could be relevant to your lives – and one of those things is retirement living. But we’ve noticed a trend on our recent retirement living articles that we’d like to address: the difference between retirement villages and nursing homes.

There seems to be a lot of confusion around these two things. We ran an article on having the “retirement living” discussion and it was quite clear from the comments that people were misunderstanding retirement villages for nursing homes.

So today, we’re going to highlight just how different these two places are and share some real stories from real people.

Here’s what you need to know about retirement villages…

  • Retirement villages are private villages with a range of different living options. There are independent units and services apartments and each give the resident a different level of independence.
  • They come equipped with different numbers of bedrooms, full kitchens, living areas and outside areas.
  • They are created to provide retirees with many of the services they need in the one place and often contain restaurants, swimming pools, a gym, a sauna, a medical clinic, a hairdresser, a library, a theatre, gardens and walkways all in the one place.
  • Most give residents the option of having a garage and they are free to come and go as they wish! For those who don’t drive they often have private bus services to nearby shops for convenience too.
  • They are about giving retirees a happy, stress-free retirement and focus on convenience.
  • Residents can choose to get involved in the many entertainment options and hobbies available on site or can continue with their commitments out of the village.
  • If it is needed, care is available on either a temporary basis, say after an operation or procedure, or a long-term basis if it is needed.
  • There is an abundance of entertaining spaces either in your own home or throughout the village so residents can entertain family and friends just as they would in the family home. The grandkids can even come for sleep overs!

Here’s what you need to know about nursing homes…

  • Nursing homes are for people requiring ongoing, high level care.
  • They are staffed with nurses, doctors and professional carers 24/7 for people who need it at a later stage of life.
  • These are a more secure environment with more policies and procedures around exit and entry.
  • Visitors are usually always welcome.
  • All meals are provided and entertainment options on site are recommended.

You see, the purpose of a retirement village and the purpose of a nursing home are completely different. Retirement villages are about independence, convenience and peace of mind whereas nursing homes are about care and constant support.

Emily Burgess moved into an Aveo retirement village last year and this is what she said… “I am a resident of Aveo Bentleigh and my only regret is that I didn’t move here earlier! I always believed that places such as these were “old folks’ homes” however it only took me a day to dispel my disconcerted ideas. The service, care and accommodation here at Aveo Bentleigh are 100%. There is never a dull moment at the village with lots of activities such as bus trips, films etc. If you prefer to spend your time quietly there are spacious sitting rooms and a well-stocked library. The village also provides a bus service to larger shopping centres and if you don’t wish to cook there is a fabulous dining room, superb in both style and cuisine. The staff are always on hand with a smile and are eager to assist if needed.”

Val and Doug Brandon also had a pleasantly surprising experience when they moved… “We inspected Unit 44 at Taringa with our children at Aveo Taringa. We kept a busy life, so were not entirely sold on moving however, upon listing our family home, it sold within the first day.

In such a short time we were moving, and for anyone who has moved houses knows that it is not the best of experiences; except for getting rid of surplus goods and things that you should have thrown out a long time ago! While we were unpacking and settling in, and as we ventured out and about we were greeted by other residents with smiles and a happy relaxed demeanour. Invitations to exercise classes (haven’t made it yet), coffee in the dining room and some interesting events were plentiful. We even had our flu jabs in the Doctor’s room and a haircut with the on-site hairdresser. Life was looking better than I imagined.

We have been here a while now and we feel at peace and enjoy the residents who show a great enjoyment in this community. Our unit is very pleasant and we are learning you don’t have to have a lot of things when you are surrounded by a well-planned and kept environment, lovely people, and units that include everything”.

So make sure you understand what the retirement village lifestyle is all about before you make up your mind.

Tell us, have you visited a retirement village and been impressed with the facilities and lifestyle available?


This article is sponsored by Aveo retirement villages.  For more information on your lifestyle options take a look at the Aveo website or call 13 28 36. Please note this article was written independently by the Starts at 60 team as it provides insights to, what we feel is, valuable and relevant content for our community.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. My concern is the cost involved living in retirement villages for example, who owns the unit, ongoing fees etc?

    1 REPLY
    • When you buy into a retirement/over 50’s village you buy the whole home and lease the land. Paying a weekly fee. When you sell all the money is yours less any agents fees.
      When you buy into a nursing home you buy a one bedroom unit or studio, you also pay weekly fees.
      When you go to sell it you pay a defered fee owing on the place you brought depending on what you paid and how long you stayed there. Eg: you paid $300,000 and you stayed 6 years if at 30% of the ongoing fee of above you would still owe the nurseing home $100,000 that’s why it is called a DMF (defered managed fee) plus what ever else they have writtern into the lease. Always get a PID (public Informstion Document)

  2. Retirement living is fine if you have no children to leave money to, otherwise it can be burdensome to your children financially after your death, depending on your agreement. Check very carefully before signing anything.

  3. The ideal set up is a facility where there is “Aging In Place”, which includes retirement village, plus low care and high care units. This then allows you to stay in the same facility when you need some increased level of care, so you’re still close to all the friends you have in the village. Victoria seems to be the place with most of these facilities. I own and live in a unit in a group of retirement villas (as opposed to a village) and we don’t have a club room, pool, etc so our body corporate fees are one of the lowest around as there aren’t facilities to maintain. Ages range from mid 50s to mid 90s and most have cars, but also take those who don’t, shopping, etc, and we often have drinks and a chat before dinner.

  4. I think this article is very relevant to us. However, I would like to see you providing links to state regulators and the downsides of buying into villages, as well. I believe they are an excellent option for many people, not me, and I would love to see you guys also covering the options of people buying into caravan parks. Thanks Starts at 60.

  5. We have looked round a very nice retirment village ,but it is not for us . We enjoy having g,kids to stay and these villages are not suitable for this . Also we have 2 dogs which again does not fit in .So for us it would be to restrictive .

  6. I suggest if u r interested or looking at what to do in retirement just go and visit the manager of the establishment u may b wanting to know about. Even ones in the same group have different costs of entry & ongoing fees. I just went through this exercise in Qld with my brother Well worth a visit to a few. Please don’t rely on what people/friends say. Do your own research at the coal face.

  7. Just one thing not mentioned. In over 50s villages some have rules on length of stay for visitors and no boarders also some have no animals allowed,we tried several before settling on where we would live,one point we missed was annual land rent increases ours runs at 4.1pc but remember this is year on year and the higher the starting point per month the quicker it grows a $750 starting point soon becomes(in 3 years) $846 and pensions don’t keep pace in 5 yrs it is 917dollars an increase of $168 dollars per month.if you are on a superannuation budget this could also impact on how long your super will your maths first. gas and electricity are not included however there are no rates water or land and your lawns are looked after in most cases the rent paid is in most cases for land only the home is yours and prices are in most cases(depending on size & location) from 200 thousand up to high 300 thousand and are mostly de mountable type made from hardy plank on steel frames. Personally my wife and I enjoy our life in our village and have made many friends.

  8. To me, retirement villages mean you own your own house/unit there, but you pay ongoing fees for use of facilities. Some places charge in excess of $500 a month for use of said facilities; regardless of whether you use them or not. To me, it’s like owning your own home and then paying rent on top of things. The idea of living with people of a similar age in a community is great, but not for me at that cost.

  9. We have done exhaustive homework in the area of retirement living. There are 2 kinds of services available. Those run for profit & those not for profit. Within the non for profit there are several options. We have come to the conclusion that this is the best way for us. Less salubrious surroundings but more money in our pocket for a lifestyle. But each one has different needs & wants. Have registered interests with several as we are not ready yet. Having too much fun in our caravan

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