Community Living – Retirement Villages


Community Living 


Senior community living is primarily categorised by the level of care available to residents. At one end of the spectrum, there are communities that offer little or no care; at the other end, the facilities provide continuous care. Between those extremes are a range of housing choices that can meet changing needs, including a couple of new choices, which we have included at the end as “additional options.”


Retirement Village Living

Australian seniors are choosing retirement village living at an ever increasing rate as an alternative housing and lifestyle option.  They are especially popular with both singles and couples aged over 55 years who feel they need more security, support or company but who want to maintain their independence and not worry about many of the day-to-day property maintenance needs that are taken care of by village staff.


There are many different types of villages, and each offers a different range of accommodation choices from single family homes, townhouses, villas, and units / apartments, as well as offering a variety of amenities, services and facilities.  Many offer basic services such as cleaning and laundry services, and transportation but seldom offer medical care.


Before you make the decision to move to a retirement village, educate yourself on what they each offer that meets your needs and budget, and be sure to visit a number of them.


We highly recommend planning on the basis of the checklist provided on the Retirement Living Council’s website found here


The checklist goes into thorough detail about the questions you should ask prior to moving into a retirement village, such as:

  • How will this move affect your lifestyle?
  • Do you like the look of the village and the accommodation available?  
  • Is it an accredited village?
  • What kinds of security are provided?
  • Is there access to aged care facilities if you need it? 
  • What are the financial considerations? (ie purchase cost, fees, including entry fee; maintenance fee; and some ongoing fees even if you move; as well as potential for these fees to increase over time; and their refund policy should you need to move).
  • How is the village managed and what are the rules for residents?
  • What lifestyle opportunities, leisure activities and services are available?
  • Are there places such as libraries, churches and recreation facilities nearby?


Before you make the commitment, visit a number of retirement villages and speak to their village manager and sales staff. Feel free to visit them more than once if need be, and ask if they will allow you to talk to some of the residents or members of the resident committee. They should be happy to talk to you.


Some complexes include both retirement villages and aged care homes, which may include low-level care and, sometimes, high-level care.


Self-care (independent living) units

Aptly named, these units are for seniors who just want a smaller home but less worry about maintenance, more security, and nearby peers.


Units are usually one or two bedrooms with a full kitchen and living area. Some may even have a small yard, courtyard or balcony.


Serviced units

Seniors living in one of these units usually eat in a communal dining room or have meals delivered. The units do not have full kitchens, and residents may get assistance with cleaning and maintaining the unit and with personal care.


Serviced units are not classed as low-level care (hostels) unless they receive federal government funding. When government funding is provided, only people assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), as needing residential aged care, can move into these serviced units. 


Remember to get expert help

First and foremost, you are the expert at what you want and how you want to live your life. So, make sure that at all levels of decision-making, your ideas are paramount. Then discuss the decision with the next level of ‘experts’ you know, which may be your family.


Before you go any further, consult outside experts, from senior real estate specialists who are familiar with retirement village living to a solicitor and financial advisor familiar with retirement village contracts.


NOTE: More detailed information on Retirement Village Living can be found at Office of Fair Trading NSW, The Retirement Village Council and Retirement Village Residents Association (RVRA)




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