8 Types of Retirement Living – A Solid Comparison

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Where do you want to live when you retire? What type of accommodation as well as location are you considering?

Did you know that you have 8 different options available to you as a retiree in Australia? Have you ever heard of land lease communities or co-located villages? 

In this post/article, we will provide a short but complete overview of the different types available to you.

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Retirement Living Types

Deciding where to live in retirement is very exciting and is one of the key decisions in retirement planning.

Most Australians stay in their home once they retire and only move out once they can no longer live independently.

Staying in your home is only one option – there are plenty of others you need to know so that you can make an informed decision regarding your personal preferences.

Types of Retirement Living include:

  • Stay in your home
  • Move in with family (or into a granny flat)
  • Retirement villages
  • Land lease communities (also known as manufactured home estates or resort communities
  • Serviced Apartments (also called independent living)
  • Home care retirement villages (or assisted living)
  • Co-located villages
  • Rental villages

Let’s take a look at them in further detail, including the pros and cons of each.

Stay in Your Home

This is the most common way of life in retirement.

A lot of people decide to sell their big family home for a smaller home or unit which requires less maintenance and thus suits the needs for seniors.  

Living in your own home gives you all the independence, choice and control that you want. It also allows you to stay in familiar surroundings and maintain your lifelong routines and habits.

In case you need a little extra support as you get older, you can easily buy home care services to assist you. On the other hand, some seniors may become isolated living alone if mobility or activity is limited.

As you get older, it may become more challenging to maintain your home, and the cost may also become a significant issue.

Move in With Family

Some people decide to move in with their family once they get older and may need some assistance with daily chores.

This option can also ease financial worries if you don’t have to pay the expenses for a home by yourself any more.

Perhaps your relatives have a studio or a granny flat that you can move into. Living with your family can be both wonderful and stressful.

In our opinion, it’s a good idea to test it out for a few months to see if the arrangement works for all parties involved.

Next, we will discuss the living types specifically designed for seniors and then the benefits/drawbacks of each.

Retirement Villages

These are an extremely popular living type for retirees in Australia because they form close-knit communities for seniors.

Here, seniors share the lifestyle facilities and senior services the retirement villages’ offer. These are designed specifically for ageing circumstances.

For example, there are no steps in the corridors, homes or outside, so mobility is never an issue. They also have spacious hallways and doorways, as well as bathrooms, to accommodate mobility devices.

In a Retirement Village, you don’t own your home. Instead, you buy the right to live there, and you buy the right to benefit from the lifestyle the village offers.

Land Lease Communities

These communities have a unique homeownership model. You own your physical home, but not the land that it resides on.

The idea originally emerged from caravan parks where they use the same legal structure.  

You are renting the land. As a consequence, the costs of owning your home are reduced, and you may also be eligible for Centrelink support to pay the rent on the land.

In most states, your home has to be manufactured off-site and brought to its final location.

Land Lease Communities offer the same social interactions as Retirement Villages.

Serviced Apartments

These apartments are usually located within a retirement village, and you are renting the space. Typically, it is a one-bedroom or a studio apartment.

You get assistance with your daily tasks, and you take one major meal in the communal dining room. If needed, care services can be added.

Home Care Retirement Villages

The idea of a home care retirement village is that you stay in your home within the retirement village and you receive all the care that you need within this home.

Depending on the village, this can go up to palliative care.

Co-Located Villages

These are retirement villages that have residential aged care right next door, and this is what makes them appealing.

In the case that you or your partner needs care, you will not be separated.

Rental Villages

In a rental village, you typically rent a one-bedroom or a studio apartment. It also comes with a meal service, weekly fresh linen and a cleaning service.

Most regional centres in Australia have Rental Villages.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Now for the discussion of the benefits and drawbacks regarding these retirement living types specially designed for retirees.

The primary benefit is that those communities offer a wide range of social activities specially designed for seniors which is quite an important factor.

In particular, if you move to a new location, you may find that living in such a community helps you to build a new social network.

The other main benefit is that you have less maintenance to do, so you can focus more on relaxing in your retirement years.

The gardens and the facilities are maintained by the operator. In the case where you need a handyman, there is generally one on-site ready to help.

On the other hand, this could also be a negative point. Considering you aren’t doing the maintenance yourself, you will have to pay for it as well as other expenses.

These include insurance, water bills, security, the salary of the staff on-site, and more. This can become quite expensive.

The other significant drawback is that once you leave your home, which includes moving to residential aged care or passing away, you have to pay an exit fee – also known as “deferred management fee.”

A lot of people find the fact that they are only living amongst other seniors quite limiting. These people miss the cultural diversity that comes from living in a generationally-mixed neighbourhood.

One final negative point we want to share is that the contract for those living types can be very complex with a lot of fine print.

It definitely pays off to get financial and legal advice before you sign up.

What is your opinion? Are you considering moving into a retirement village or perhaps a different type of retirement living?

What are your concerns when choosing a retirement living situation over another? Let us know in the comments below; we would love to know your thoughts!

Also, be sure to take a look at our YouTube Channel where you can find plenty of retirement information in video format. You can read more articles on our website, Retire On!