E24: Housing as we age - retirement villages

A retirement village can be an attractive alternative to the family home or a move to an apartment. They can offer opportunities for socialising and shared leisure activities without the effort or expense of home and garden maintenance.

But it’s important to be fully informed before you sign on the dotted line as living in a retirement village is not like owning a house or apartment. Moving to a retirement village is different from buying property. There are several kinds of occupancies and ownership arrangements and a range of fees payable, for example for facilities such as pools and gyms. You can pay additional fees for cleaning your apartment and meal delivery.

The biggest expense is the entry fee, which is refunded without interest, whole or in part when you leave.

Make sure the contract is fully explained to you and seek legal advice. An accountant should review the costs as they can be complex.

As well, while retirement villages are marketed for over 55s, the average age is around 75. It’s important to discuss the village’s suitability for ageing in place to avoid having to move to another facility if you require more support.

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