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Top 5 questions about retirement living

8th March 2018

Each year, more Australians are choosing to live and age in independent living units within retirement villages, with the thought of easy living in a supportive environment proving appealing to retirees.

The popularity of retirement living has seen more operators enter a competitive market. Whilst the availability of options is a win for consumers, navigating through the pages of information can be a daunting task. Here are five questions you should ask yourself when considering retirement villages.

What kind of lifestyle will you be able to live at the retirement village?

Find out what recreational and lifestyle activities are available at the village and also ask what some of the interests of the village residents are. You can also request to see the activities plan from the previous months, and see if the village offers activities that aligns with your own interests. If you’re relocating to a new area, make sure the offering of the broader community suits your needs, for example a golf course, walking tracks, organic food store etc.

Does the village provide any additional services or support? Is it co-located with a residential aged care facility?

Many retirement villages are co-located with an aged care facility and offer home care services. For some, the visibility of aged care services in co-located facilities can be unsettling. However, the benefits include being able to live close to your partner in the event that they require higher care needs, as well as staying in your community and maintaining your friendships if your own care needs change.

Dalkeith Heights in Traralgon is a Retirement Village co-located with a Residential Aged Care service and a home care team located within the village, ensuring residents have access to either service should the need arise. By providing these services, residents of Dalkeith Heights are able to access as much or as little support if and when they need it.

What fees should you consider?

  • Upfront payment – know how much your upfront payment will be. This is the largest single payment you will need to make and entitles you to security of your home. The amount varies from provider to provider, and amongst villages.
  • Maintenance fees – know how regularly these need to be paid, e.g. monthly or quarterly
  • Exit fee structures (also known as a deferred management fee) – know what percentage you will be charged per year, the maximum percentage you can be charged, and any variables such as how long you’ve been living in the unit.

Does the village take holding deposits or charge to be on the ‘wait list’?

Some villages require those wishing to be placed on the wait list pay a fee. Find out how much the fee is and the average wait time. Under the Retirement Villages Act (1986), all deposits paid to a retirement village are refundable if the transaction is cancelled for any reason, including change of mind. Dalkeith Heights in Traralgon does not charge a fee to be placed on their wait list.

Is the ownership of the village a listed company, privately owned, or a ‘not-for-profit’ entity?

The standard of service and amenities among not-for-profit and private operators are generally on par. Residents of not-for-profit villages have the comfort of knowing the owner of the village reinvests funds back into services and infrastructure to continue to provide a high quality living environment for their residents. Depending on the services offered by the operator, in some cases this can mean a portion of revenue can go towards social equity causes.

For example, as a not-for-profit provider, Benetas was able to use a portion of funds generated to improve the amenities at Dalkeith Heights for the enjoyment of residents. A village green was developed on the property, which includes a bowling green, putting green, walking track and outdoor exercise equipment.

To find out more about a premium retirement living lifestyle in the heart of Gippsland visit