Finding The Right Retirement Village

Posted on January 14, 2019.

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For some, the idea of moving out of the long term family home can be daunting. However many Australians have embraced the retirement community lifestyle and never looked back.

These days retirement living comes in all shapes and sizes to suit a variety of tastes and personalities. If you are considering making the move, take the time to find a retirement community that is just right for you. Here are some things to think about when looking at retirement villages.

What is a retirement village?

A retirement village or retirement community is generally a complex of independent residences, designed specifically for people who have retired from work and/or for those aged 55 years and over. Not all retirement villages will have the words “retirement village” in their name. For example, some of Juniper’s retirement communities across Perth are simply called Juniper Orana or Juniper RoseMount, however they are still retirement villages.

What are the benefits of retirement living?

After spending many years working hard as a paid employee, raising children and/or taking care of the family home and gardens, this time of your life should be about spending more time doing the things you love to do. While you may be downsizing your home when you move into a retirement village you certainly don’t need to downsize your lifestyle!

Today most retirement communities, particularly the newer ones offer pools, gyms, clubrooms, an abundance of social activities and much more. With loneliness and isolation a growing problem among our senior population, retirement villages allow you to be part of a community of like-minded residents helping you to stay connected and supported.

Retirement villages are often a more secure way of living. Many of them are monitored and gated communities, giving you piece of mind and the ability to relax and feel safe in your own home.

You may have seen or heard the term “ageing in place”, meaning the ability stay in your own home for as long as possible, even as your care needs increase with age. Retirement villages, particularly the newer developments, are designed for this purpose and are usually fitted out with aids, equipment, systems and facilities to care for your changing needs as you get older.

Location is everything

What kind of life do you want to live? Do you enjoy time at the beach or regular games of golf?

With more and more retirement communities being developed across Western Australia, you can choose a lifestyle that is to your personal taste. Remember while it’s nice to be near family and friends it’s also important to remember that your mobility may change in the future.

For example in years to come you may not be able to drive a car so when choosing a retirement village, ensure you have easy access to your favourite hobbies and interests.

Juniper’s retirement village in Menora is close to the cafés, restaurants, and shops of Mount Lawley while Juniper RoseMount in Dianella has a large shopping centre nearby.

Here are some other things to think about:

  • Is there easy access to public transport?
  • How far is the closest grocery store and medical centre?
  • Is the village located near your favourite surrounds? Do you prefer a leafy outlook or would you rather be near the coastline?

Choose your style of living

Retirement villages offer a variety of accommodation options. Some offer medium or high-rise apartments, others are made up of individual villas, units or terrace houses. Some retirement communities will even include a combination of all of these options.
If you love gardening, a villa with a small patch of garden and room for potted plants is a good choice but if you would rather not worry about any maintenance, apartment living could be the way to go.

Think to the future

You might be feeling quite well and fit now but it’s helpful to think ahead to what your future needs may be as you get older. Is the village wheelchair-friendly? Are there emergency call buttons on the walls? Is there a medical centre on site or nearby? Retirement communities are sometimes co-located with residential care facilities.

This is particularly helpful when one spouse needs to move into residential care, allowing couples to continue living within the same community. Some retirement villages are better-equipped for ‘ageing in place’ than others so take a tour and have a good look around before making a decision.

Rules and regulations

Is your furry friend welcome? As well as pets, think about home modifications and rules around gardens, visitors and entertaining. It’s best to know exactly what restrictions are in place and if they suit you and your lifestyle.

Understand the financials

It is imperative that you completely understand the financial obligations associated with the retirement village you choose. Are there ongoing costs for maintenance of the grounds and common areas? If you decide to move out of the village, will you be required to pay exit fees? Know your budget and ensure you are aware of all costs before signing the contract.

Take time to compare the costs between a variety of villages and don’t hesitate to seek legal advice or see your financial advisor if necessary. Above all, take your time and don’t feel rushed when making your decision.

There are many helpful resources on how retirement villages operate. The government’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Consumer Protection provides a helpful booklet called, So you're thinking about moving into a retirement village and The Aged Care Guide contains many useful articles on retirement living.

Juniper operates many retirement living communities and villages across metropolitan Perth, including Juniper Orana – a brand new development in Menora. For information on prices and site tours visit Juniper Orana.