“I just don’t feel old enough for a retirement village.”
Many people have no doubt had that thought, especially since many are working well into their 60s and even their 70s to fund retirement.
And that perception might have been relevant a few years ago, when retirement villages were viewed as being just a few steps away from entering a nursing home.
But retirement villages have changed – many are more akin to a resort than a last resort, providing a comfortable bridge between working life and retirement, with an extra dash of service not as readily available at the family home.
In fact, research undertaken for the Property Council of Australia recently found that living in a retirement village was a more cost-effective way to access services and facilities – whether your interests lay more in pools and gyms or healthcare and security – than in the general resident sector.*
For younger Baby Boomers who may be experiencing an ‘empty nest’ for the first time, a retirement community setting is ideal for giving up tedious home maintenance and chores, to free up more time for leisure.
After all, Aussies born between 1946 and 1964 control more than half of the country’s wealth and are ready to spend it – they’re responsible for more than half of all consider spending, including 80 per cent of all leisure travel.
To cater to these newly ‘free’ 50- and 60-somethings, Stockland, which has 65 villages around Australia, offers services ranging from mowing and gardening to the replacement of whitegoods, all included as part of living in the village.
Anne Nolan, a resident at Stockland’s Maybrook Retirement Village, says the ease of on-tap services is one of the big attractions of village life.
“Anything you want done is done for you,” she says. “You pay your levies and everything’s included in that. What more can you ask for?”
For older Baby Boomers who may be starting to find some household upkeep more difficult to do alone, retirement village providers will change lightbulbs, fix internet connections, book appointments and assist with transport to local services, and even check in on you on a regular basis just to ensure all is okay.
It’s these peace-of-mind services that convince many adult children that a community is the right new home for their beloved parent, particularly if the more intensive assistance provided by homecare agencies isn’t yet required.
Baby Boomers also make up Australia’s biggest group of Grey Nomads, most of whom spend at least a month at a time travelling, which makes services such as mail collection and garden maintenance ideal.
Anne from Maybrook reckons the wide range of people living at retirement villages is part of the fun village life provides.
“Some people think that retirement villages are for really old people but that’s not the case,” she says. “We’ve got people here over 55 and they go to work, they carry on just the same but they still have the lovely social life which we have.”
What do you imagine life in a retirement village to be like? What kind of services would you get the best use from?