Retirement Villages and What Facilities to Expect
Retirement Villages are becoming increasingly popular as we live longer and benefit from better health, thanks to modern medical science. When it comes to cottages they offer ‘feet on the ground’ – as opposed to Retirement Homes and Retirement Apartments where we often share walls with our neighbours. This provides a greater sense of being ‘in our own space’, although we have a right to occupation as opposed to a right to own it.
Variety of Spaces in Retirement Villages
A well-designed and properly administered retirement village should have a gradient of choices according to which of life’s phases we are passing through. Couples generally choose two – or even three – bedroom cottages if they want a guest room, and have a small garden they can shape as it suits them.
Singles in Retirement Villages often prefer a smaller ground-floor apartment with sit-out space for when the weather is good, because the chores are less and they have time to get out and about and make friends. As we grow older, the time comes when seniors need extra care. This can be in the privacy of our units or in a central support facility.
General Maintenance Services Available
Carefully inspect your unit in the Retirement Village you select before you hand over the money. It should be either new, or as-new having undergone complete renovation between occupants. Interior upkeep will be yours once you sign the unit off, so find someone to help you inspect it if you are not ‘technical’.
The Retirement Village administration should be responsible for security services, external building maintenance, and gardening as part of what it does with your levies. There should be confirmation of this in the Retirement Village constitution. Read this carefully before reaching a final decision, as well as the last three years of annual financial reports.
Recreation Amenities in Retirement Villages
Recreational facilities vary from village to village, although the general intention is encourage residents not to spend all day in their homes. These are generally near or in central complexes. As a general rule of thumb, first decide what you want to complement your lifestyle, and then look for Retirement Villages that suit your needs.
- The central administration building usually houses community spaces such as library, dining room / café, small convenience store, meeting area for fun activities / religious services, banking kiosk and perhaps a beauty / nail salon and barber shop.
- Exercise is an important part of a healthy senior lifestyle, and we encourage you to find a retirement village that has swimming pools, bowling greens and possibly a small golf course. There should also be hiking trails or at least a network of sidewalks, so you can stretch your legs and breathe in fresh air.
There comes a time we some of us do not want to drive any more, or perhaps just enjoy the luxury of being chauffeured. A properly administered Retirement Village will have people-carriers to shuttle its residents to shopping malls, medical appointments and so on.
As part of its outreach to keep residents connected to the world beyond the entrance gate, it should provide transport to concerts, exhibitions and shows etc., and also arrange coach tours to interesting, senior friendly places.
The Big What-If Question
Seniors often move to Retirement Villages because they believe they will be cared for if they become mentally or physically infirm. Most villages provide an oversight service, although not all have frail care / hospice facilities. Extended care is not included in the levies. It is important to make provision for this, just in case it happens and so you will be able to afford it. Remember to ask what happens if your funds run dry.