1. Location, location, location
How important is location to you?
Do you want to be near family?
Do you need to be close to any special services and amenities?
Staying connected to your loved ones is incredibly important for mental health and wellbeing. If regular family visits are something you wish to encourage, try to find a village within a 30-minute drive, or choose a ‘destination’ location that your family will love to visit as a mini-break.
Also consider services and proximity to shops in the surrounding suburbs. If you engage in regular activities such as a weekly golf game, coffee with friends, aqua aerobics, or shopping trips, ensure you have access to these facilities in your new home.
2. Consider your budget
Downsizing doesn’t mean downgrading. Nevertheless, it is essential to consider your finances before making any decision. For some people, moving into retirement living will provide capital and resources, allowing them to invest in other areas of their life such as travel, hobbies or even a caravan. For others, it is about debt consolidation and minimising repayments. This is why you should discuss these changes with your accountant or financial planner to see how moving into a village will affect you personally. In addition, ensure you understand all costs involved including ongoing maintenance fees and exactly what you will own before signing any paperwork or paying a deposit.
3. Your accommodation needs
Retirement living villages offer a range of accommodation options from units to larger villas and terraces. Now is the time to reassess what type of accommodation you need and find a home that suits your future needs. For many, this can be quite confronting. If you have always lived in a four-bedroom home with a large garden, the reality of moving into a smaller property may prompt questioning if you are doing the right thing.
Think carefully about what is going to be best for your lifestyle. Do you really need an extra room for the grandkids to stay during the school holidays or for your friends when they holiday with you? Perhaps you and your partner may want to change your sleeping arrangements and have separate beds/rooms so you can get a better night’s sleep. If you are an avid gardener, choose a property that allows you to continue this passion, or if you hate weeding, a modern unit may suit you better. Whatever your preference is, there will usually be something to suit your needs and budget.
4. Village activities and services
When you move to a retirement living village, you will be surrounded with people who are in a similar stage of life to you. This is a great opportunity to make new friends, build social connections and explore new activities together. Find out what activities are available at the village you are considering and make sure it matches your interests.
Most retirement living villages offer a range of services, maintenance options, transportation, and other on-site amenities. Ultimately, you will pay for these features in your weekly or monthly fees, so decide if caravan storage, a swimming pool or a community centre is important to you before making your decision. Facilities commonly found in these complexes include spas and pools, workshops and studios, movie and game rooms, beauty salons, bowling greens, tennis courts, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries and community clubhouses.
5. Planned social events
Are you a passionate gardener, golfer, baker or even have an interest that you have wanted to pursue but never had the time for? Moving to a retirement community may provide you the opportunity to spend more time pursuing your hobbies and personal interests with like-minded people. Many villages offer regular events and social clubs allowing you to develop your skills and meet new friends at the same time. Talk to your village manager to find out what activities are on offer to ensure you stay connected and entertained.
6. The application process
Retirement living villages usually have a complex application process due to high demand for properties. Some villages may require an upfront fee, while others may have a waiting list. If you are considering a particular village, arrange a tour, collect the paperwork and ask to join the waiting list for available properties. Researching the application process ahead of time will make it easier to make a considered decision when you are ready to make the move. Also, being offered a place doesn’t mean you need to take it.
7. Ongoing support & security
One of the attractions of moving to a retirement village is the support offered to its residents. No more mowing the lawn or arguments about climbing ladders to clean your gutters! In a retirement community, maintenance packages can include services such as garden upkeep, laundry services, cleaning, and medical support, depending on your needs and budget.
Many residents also shared that prior to moving, being home alone left them feeling vulnerable, whereas in a retirement community, knowing their neighbours made them feel safe. In addition, the set-up and security around most villages makes it more difficult for thieves to target homes without attracting attention, giving you peace of mind. For those who like to travel, being able to simply pack up and go knowing their property is being maintained provides peace of mind – as well as no overgrown lawns, dead plants or weeds on return!
8. Chat to the locals
Once you have narrowed down your list and know which village you prefer, chat with the people who live there. Ask them what they like about living there, and if there is anything that they wish they knew before moving in. Most people will be honest about their experiences, and it will be a good way for you to meet your potential neighbours.
Talk to the staff and find out more about the facilities and rules in the village. They may be able to provide you with insight into daily life. Please note, unless you have a scheduled appointment, the staff may be working on other tasks, so keep your questions brief and to the point.
We hope this article has helped if you’re considering moving into a retirement living village. Just remember to do your research, consider your budget, and think about what’s important to you before making your decision. If you have any questions about Kalyra’s Villages or wish to arrange a tour, please contact us for more information. Our email address is email@example.com or phone (08) 8278 0300.