5 things to look for when considering a retirement property or home.
Retirement living in Australia is a growth sector, with our rapidly ageing population creating a high demand for facilities and services. This makes the industry competitive, with providers competing against one another for the attention of potential clients and residents.
Each facility or service will have aspects they promote as their specialty, so when selecting the best place for yourself or a loved one you will need to consider these aspects and how they fit with your needs and lifestyle. Read on for some considerations that need to be thought about before choosing a retirement community.
Proximity to your community.
When leaving your family home and moving to a retirement facility the upheaval of doing so can be compounded if you are also moving to a new neighbourhood. Moving away from your family, friends, community network and familiar surroundings can make the transition feel greater and more unsettling that it needs to be.
Consider looking at facilities that are in or close to your old area, so you can still access your regular amenities and services. Also think about how close your family and friends live, so that visits are convenient and can be more frequent. If you have a regular doctor or allied health professional that is local, being able to maintain continuity of care will have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
Alignment with your interests and lifestyle.
Many facilities have amenities designed to enhance your enjoyment and lifestyle, so it is important to assess how these suit your interests.
Are you involved in your community? Joining the facility social or sports club may be ideal for your interests. Do you like to keep active? A gym or swimming pool may be on your “must-have” list, or a sports team or walking group.
Depending on your circumstances you may seek a community that has varying levels of care available. Right now you need a home that supports independent living, but are mindful that as we age our care needs increase and the ability to transition to assisted living or a nursing home as the time comes is important for your comfort, security and safety.
Activities and services available.
In a similar vein to amenities, the activities and services offered by a retirement community are also influential on your happiness and enjoyment.
Do you enjoy travel? Day trips to local tourist regions could be something that adds value and enrichment to your life. Do you enjoy sporting events? Attending live events or enjoying broadcast games as a group with others who have similar interests can be fulfilling.
Many facilities and communities offer a range of in-house activities for residents to enjoy, such as games, art and craft, movie nights and celebrations of cultural events. Ensuring the activities offered align with your interests will ensure you get the most out of your time.
Retirement communities and aged care facilities vary in size, from small where a few dozen residents reside, to large where you may have several hundred. The size of the facility will be important to consider if you are someone who enjoys being part of a large and robust community, or someone who prefers a smaller, more close-knit group of peers.
Depending on the level of care services you need to receive, the size of a facility may be more or less apparent to your daily experience. If you are one of many older Australians with higher needs, being in a large facility with lots of peers and staff may feel overwhelming or impersonal, in which case a smaller facility may suit you better.
Alternatively if you are living independently and wish for an experience that feels more like your previous lifestyle, a large retirement village may feel more like a community. The ability to interact with many different people and have a large circle of friends is critical to wellbeing for those it suits.
Independent vs assisted living.
Are you transitioning to retirement living because of a desire to downsize and simplify, or are your care needs increasing and you need more assistance? This distinction is important in helping you find a community that serves your needs and offers a fulfilling lifestyle.
Retirement communities often cater to independent living with units or small homes for couples or individuals. These allow residents to live independently, but with the support of the community and facility should they need.
Nursing homes or aged care facilities generally have a greater focus on assisted living or people with higher care needs. Residents will often have a personal bedroom or suite that is part of a larger communal living space, and this format allows for higher staff to resident ratios and the delivery of higher levels of care.
Whichever type of facility you are considering for your retirement, it is always important and worth considering multiple facets and how they align to your individual needs, preferences and requirements.