Considering a Retirement Village

Moving to a retirement village? Know how to time it right

Oct 22, 2021
Finding a retirement village that supports your transition is important. Image Source: Supplied.

Making the move to a retirement village is a common preparation among the over 55’s. However, sometimes relocating to a retirement village means leaving the area you are familiar with. Being able to live locally in the community you know, and love is important which is why Mark Bindon co-founded Oak Tree Retirement Villages over 15 years ago.

The concept of moving and transitioning into retirement can be daunting and not knowing how to time it right can leave you feeling lost. Oak Tree Retirement Villages understands these challenges and provides you with support every step of the way.

Oak Tree provides affordable, secure, and low-maintenance boutique villages for Australians over 55. When it comes to retiring, the decision is personal. Factors like your age, financial situation, and health will play a part in helping you decide when the time is right. However, one thing is for certain … The decision is never easy.

Understanding the time to make the move can be difficult for many reasons. You may have other priorities and downsizing isn’t one of them, or you are worried about leaving your house which is full of memories, or perhaps you don’t want to lose the sense of community.

However, there’s no need to dwell when choosing Oak Tree Retirement Villages. With advice from Oak Tree Group Managing Director and CEO, Mark Bindon, there are a few simple tips you can use to help you confirm that retiring is the right decision for you at the right time.

In partnership with Start at 60, we have created the ‘Considering a Retirement Village – The Ultimate Checklist‘ which provides comprehensive information on everything you need to know before you start your journey into retirement village living. Download your copy of the checklist here.

Most popular timing for retirement village living

“Historically, there is a perception that people who move into retirement villages are old and it’s actually not the case,” Mark says. A lot of retirement villages, including Oak Tree, are available to residents who are still working part-time or casually, and are wanting to engage with a like-minded community.

Before moving into a retirement village, consider your current living situation. Mark says the most common issue affecting Oak Tree residents transitioning into the village is the family home and the resident’s ability to keep up with regular maintenance.

“The primary reason, fundamentally, is that the family home most of our residents have come from is simply just too much,” he says.

He says approximately two-thirds of Oak Tree’s villas are inhabited by singles, with 90 per cent women and widows. The second most common reason for moving into a retirement village, according to Mark, is loneliness.

“Loneliness is probably the primary thing that [widows] may suffer from when they’re living on their own. The maintenance is a big deal for them as well. With couples, that’s less of an issue because the two of them are still together. It then becomes more driven by health issues,” Mark says.

The coronavirus pandemic has undermined the mental well-being of many older adults and studies have shown that virtual interaction, such as phone calls, text messaging, video calls and social media engagement, is not enough to fill the void left by face-to-face interactions for older people. Retirement villas, like the ones at Oak Tree, help create a sense of community while you spend more quality time doing the things you love the most.

A strong sense of community is the key reason why many Australians choose to settle down at boutique villas rather than larger establishments. Oak Tree offers the benefits of a close-knit community, where you can form new friendships easily, belong, and contribute as part of a supportive village.

What to consider before moving

Many factors come into play when moving into a retirement village, but there are three key considerations you should take on board before moving.

1. The location
2. Selling your home
3. Family involvement

By looking at Oak Tree’s data among thousands of residents, Mark Bindon found the most important consideration for first-time buyers is the location. He says many over-55s are comfortable with where they live now and aren’t interested in moving far from their community.

“What [Oak Tree] wants to do, where possible, is keep people local because we know that if people have to relocate, it presents a whole heap of new challenges, social challenges that are poorly understood by the community at large,” Mark says.

When you start thinking about retirement, it’s likely you have substantial equity in your home, and you might even own it outright. Therefore, selling your home is the perfect opportunity to free up money for your retirement. Even if you have already decided to downsize to a retirement village, you still need to consider the other financial, practical, and emotional factors that come into play.

Luckily, Oak Tree is well-versed in providing outstanding support during these often-stressful processes.

“We spend a lot of time talking with people to offer support with the sale of their home,” Mark says.

Mark also highlights the importance of involving your family in your decision to sell.

“Selling the home where you raised your children and leaving behind close neighbours and friends can be difficult. We have seen some families relocated because of the decision to sell. We encourage discussions between family members to ensure everyone is engaged with the decision-making process,” he says.

Couples versus individuals

Moving into a retirement village will be different for couples and individuals, respectively. However, both get a substantial boost in quality of life. Moving into a retirement village is a lifestyle investment and Oak Tree makes sure the investment is worth every penny.

“It’s a significant lifestyle challenge, but we make sure the transition is as pleasant as possible by providing and sharing clear information with the residents and their family.

The smartest move to make in terms of retirement village living as a couple or a single is to consider the overall process. “Things like selling the home, downsizing, packing up, relocating, moving into a new community on your own, that certainly presents a lot of challenges,” he said.

For more than 15 years, Oak Tree has supported residents by providing them with an environment that allows them to live independently. The local Oak Tree team will support you through it all, including the challenges that are present during the home-selling process.

“We also assist the physical move, taking that pressure away from having to pack the house up,” he says.

Oak Tree’s low-maintenance living also allows singles to not worry about the challenges of living alone “because all of those things they used to struggle with are all gone overnight.”

Transition with ease

Before leaping into retirement living, you should always consider what’s going on in your life. It’s not ideal to move during an already distressing time, as the goal is to transition with ease.

Transitions aren’t always easy, but they don’t have to be difficult. Mark explains the timing of a slow transitioning process is crucial because it sets you up for the rest of your retirement experience.

“We recognise that moving into a retirement village is a major life transition, and we want to support you on the journey.”

To assist with the process, Oak Tree allows you to spend some time at their facilities beforehand. You can bring your family along and meet some of their other residents and village managers.

What can you do now?

Finding a retirement village that supports your transition is important to time your future in the right way. If you are looking to retire, Oak Tree can help maintain your peace of mind and secure your future. With more than 31 villages across four states in Australia, it’s as simple as making an enquiry and taking control of your Retirement lifestyle.

Are you considering retirement living?

Download your copy of the 'Considering a Retirement Village - The Ultimate Checklist' which provides comprehensive information on everything you need to know before you start your journey into retirement village living.