5 things to consider when choosing a retirement village

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019

Elderly people drinking and laughing around table

Downsizing in your golden years isn’t just about ditching high maintenance housework.

It’s also about finding a home and a community that fits your carefree new lifestyle. Naturally, there’ll be a bunch of boxes that need ticking to justify your decision to downsize.

Of course, like purchasing any property, you’ll need to get your head around the financials. But what else should you look for in a retirement village?

The location

Weighing up the whereabouts is usually a good starting point.

You might have kids and grandkids you’d like to stay close to. Or maybe you’re keen for a change of scenery.

When looking into retirement villages, take a mental note of what’s close by, including shopping centres, medical centres and public transport.

Plus, think about what you like to do when you get out and about. If you’re an avid golfer, is there a course close at hand? Are there surrounding options for coffee catch-ups or dinner and drinks?

While these are common things to consider when buying any kind of property, keep in mind what’s going to be important in years to come. You might be happy driving 10 minutes to do your groceries now, but what about future you?

The accommodation

Everyone should love where they live. You’ve worked your whole life, so you’re allowed to be fussy!

But before you mull over the finer details, think about what type of accommodation you’d prefer.

Do you want to look up at the sky from an apartment, or are you more comfortable with a free-standing home?

Are you happy to say goodbye to your garden, or is that simply out of the question?

Retirement villages these days come in all shapes and sizes. So before you start browsing, narrow down the options by deciding what type of home you see yourself in.

Elderly man in light pink shirt smiling and holding a book with his partner wearing a red shirt

The sense of security

Many homes in retirement villages are fitted with emergency call systems, and are generally designed to be safe and secure.

But what about accessibility and extra support if your needs change?

Consider the layout of the home. If you or your partner needs a wheelchair or walking frame one day, will you be able to use the kitchen and bathroom? Are the doors wide enough? Are there stairs or tight corners?

In most cases, you should be able to make home modifications to improve your independence around the house. If you’re over 65 and approved by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), you could access a home care package to help cover the costs of adding things like hand rails and ramps, as well as other services like cleaning, shopping assistance, transport, meal preparation or physio.

The facilities

Now that you’re retired, it’s time to kick back, relax and have fun!

Everyone’s idea of fun is a little different, so it’s good to have options.

Make sure the retirement village you choose has shared facilities you’ll actually want to use.

Most will have a communal hub for group gatherings, decked out with a big screen TV and plenty of comfy seating.

But what about a bowling green, putting green, heated pool and spa, gym, library or computer room? Think about how you’d like to spend your days and find a village that will help you live the dream.

Elderly man playing lawn bowls with two women

The vibe

Sometimes when you know, you know.

After doing the grand tour, if it feels like home, it probably is.

Talk to the residents and see what they have to say. Find out if they have a social committee, and see what sort of activities are on the agenda.

Having like-minded neighbours is a big draw card when it comes to retirement villages, so don’t be shy – do the rounds and see what kind of vibe you get!

Kingsway Court, our retirement village in Perth’s northern suburbs, can offer you all this and more. And with our new coastal community currently in development, there’s a lot to love about downsizing!