The rise of vertical retirement villages: what are they and what makes them different?

Sep 01, 2023
Take a peek at the benefits of vertical villages and what makes them an attractive option for many downsizers. Source: Supplied by Oak Tree Group

Traditional retirement villages have long been a popular choice for many downsizers as they age, offering a lower maintenance lifestyle and a sense of community. However, in more recent times, a new concept is emerging as an exciting and innovative alternative for those thinking about relocating in their semi or full retirement: vertical retirement villages.

In contrast to their sprawling counterparts, vertical retirement villages are redefining the way we envision retirement living by soaring to new heights. These multi-level residential complexes cater specifically to the unique needs and desires of retirees, harmoniously blending convenience, comfort, and community. 

In fact, recent studies have shown that vertical villages are rapidly popping up in more and more metro areas across the country (literally UP!). In the 2020 census, vertical villages comprised 33% of all new developments, while the 2021 census showed 41% of all new developments were vertical villages.  

What are the benefits of vertical living?

While the heart and soul of a retirement village as we know it does remain part of the vertical village concept, vertical retirement homes also provide a number of unique benefits that are well worth considering:

Urban convenience 

Traditional ‘horizontal’ retirement villages sprawl outwards, requiring vast landholdings. Vertical villages on the other hand require less land so they can be built in sought-after metro locations with established urban infrastructures. 

By capitalising on urban spaces, residents can enjoy easy access to nearby facilities such as shopping centres, public transport, cafés, restaurants and medical facilities.

Proximity to your community

If you’re used to inner-city or suburban living, you may find a vertical retirement village located with closer proximity to your friends and family. Of course, you can still form new friendships and find that friendly sense of community spirit in a vertical village just as you would in a traditional retirement village, but it’s nice to have the special people in your life as close as possible.

You’ll also be able to stay within the community that you know and love, which is an important factor to feeling safe and secure.

Greater accessibility and security

Just like in a hotel or apartment block, many essential services and amenities are centralised within vertical villages, making them easily accessible no matter which floor you live on. Residents can simply walk out their front door, head towards the elevator and choose where they want to go. 

Vertical villages also commonly have underground carparks, internal lift access and one main building entry point, enabling a higher level of security for residents. 

Views and privacy

By building upwards, vertical villages often come with spectacular vistas of the surrounding cityscapes, scenic landscapes, or even distant horizons straight from their homes. Whether it’s enjoying the mesmerizing sunset from the balcony or gazing at a skyline adorned with twinkling lights, these panoramic views add a touch of serenity and beauty to everyday life.

Additionally, vertical retirement villages prioritise privacy by incorporating design elements that allow residents to enjoy their personal space. From soundproofing techniques to well-planned layouts, residents can relish a sense of seclusion and tranquillity within their own homes.

Brand new modern designs

Vertical villages are often built with the latest architectural trends and innovative design concepts, combining style and functionality to create a comfortable and contemporary living space.

Modern design elements such as open floor plans, large windows, and high ceilings are often incorporated to enhance natural light and create an airy ambiance. The use of quality materials, sleek finishes, and elegant fixtures adds a touch of sophistication to the living spaces. Some vertical villages also incorporate smart technology features that simplify daily life, such as centralised air conditioning, lighting control systems, and security systems.

How do vertical villages differ from regular apartment living?

Designed specifically to the unique needs and desires of today’s modern-day retiree, vertical villages differ significantly from regular apartment living. 

Some of the key differentiating factors are:

  • Age-focused communities: Vertical villages are purpose-built for senior living, designed to provide the support you need to age in place. The same helpful features you find in traditional retirement homes are part of vertical village designs. Vertical villages are also registered and operated under legislation in accordance with the Retirement Villages Act for that extra peace of mind.
  • Like-minded neighbours: Normal apartment buildings are occupied by all types of tenants. Vertical retirement villages on the other hand are filled with like-minded residents, all who are at a similar life stage to you. This helps further foster a sense of community and a harmonious living environment.
  • Tailored amenities and services: The facilities within vertical retirement villages are designed to support the healthy ageing of the residents, promoting active involvement with a high level of safety in mind. Similar to your traditional retirement villages, vertical villages also offer a range of social activities amongst residents.
  • Lower maintenance lifestyle: In vertical villages, you can have peace of mind that all the time-consuming maintenance tasks are looked after for you. The dedicated team of on-site maintenance staff are responsible for any repair or maintenance needs within the community.

Other important considerations

There are many other considerations to be had before you make the move. You may like to consider downloading the helpful free e-guide put together by Starts at 60 in partnership with Oak Tree: ‘Considering a Retirement Village: The Ultimate Guide’, which is packed with critical information, considerations and easy-to-complete exercises to help guide your journey into community retirement living.

Are you considering retirement living?

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