Living Options for Australian Retirees
Entering your retirement years is an exciting endeavour. You will have more time and freedom to do the things you want to do. The freedom of living arrangements can feel daunting, with so many options available to you.
There has never been a better array of living options available for Australian retirees. With advances in technology and a greater understanding of what over 50s want, there are options aplenty, and a living arrangement for every need, budget, and desire. Personalise your retirement living situation and live the way you want to live.
Over 50s Resorts
Resort living is designed to provide luxury in a village atmosphere. It is not quite living in an independent house, and not quite a retirement village. Resorts can be located anywhere, with ones by the sea, in the mountains, or even in city communities. To complete the luxury resort feel, some Over 50s resorts are even being built on islands, beachfront, and other prime locations.
Most often, residents have access to an exclusive country club, sometimes with a ten pin bowling alley, luxury cinema, sauna, and spa. You can truly enjoy retirement and maximum independence at an Over 50s or Over 55s resort. They provide services that will make you feel as if you are living in a hotel, with garden care, cleaning, in-home services, and resort features such as pools, spas, tennis courts, and golf courses.
Resorts are a fantastic option for those who desire only a little help and who enjoy the closeness of a like-minded community. Plus, there is the added benefit of resort luxury and easy-to-access amenities.
Note, however, you do not get the medical and other support services to the same extent as you do in a retirement village.
Resort-style communities will usually be under Land Lease arrangement, whereby you own the home but lease the land on which the home sits from the community operator. The advantages of this arrangement include a lower initial cost because you do not pay for the land. You also do not pay exit fees and would be entitled to capital gains relating to the dwelling on sale. On the reverse side, you have to pay fees in relation to the lease of the land to the community operator on an ongoing basis.
Luxury Apartment Living
Vertical living is one format of luxury apartment living that is experiencing a boom in popularity with retirees. It can come in the traditional landed village, or the vertical living format. Both are apartment complexes, usually with great views and easy access.
Choosing to live in a vertical village with resort-style apartments offers advantages unparalleled in traditional retirement communities.
Where living in prime locations would have been otherwise unaffordable, their compact design makes this a reality. Where else on a retirement budget could you live in a beautiful, modern new home with spectacular views, in the heart of a vibrant beach city, with shops, entertainment, sports clubs, and the best nature has to offer – all on your doorstep? Apartment living also sees you living nearby those at a similar stage in life. Instead of having to drive to visit your friends, all you have to do is pop into an elevator. They are also very private and offer significant functionality and accessibility.
You no longer have to sacrifice some of your must-haves when choosing a place to retire. Garden and pool upkeep, cumbersome stairs, and out of pocket expenses to maintain an older property are just some of the things vertical living eliminates. This leaves you more time and money to focus on what really matters – having fun, socialising with new friends, staying fit and healthy, or indulging those travel whims that go hand-in-hand with turnkey living.
Retirement villages are great living options for both those who want to socialise more, and those who prefer to limit their engagement. It is very important that a village caters for all residents in their social requirements and provides an atmosphere of inclusiveness for all levels of engagement. It can give you a greater sense of feeling secure in your social engagements, in your place of residence, and for your current and future care requirements. More and more retirement village operators have been focusing on the lifestyle and healthy living aspects of life in their villages. There are organised outings and regular invited service providers such as yoga instructors, masterchefs, and arts and crafts teachers.
Retirement villages also offer the benefits of greater security than your own home, with the presence of staff who are always there in case of emergency.
A village is very different from living alone. There are lots of activities and friendship groups that you can be a part of in a village community.
Most over 50s and 60s do stay in their own home and continue to live independently. This is a realistic option for those in established communities, and for those who live near to friends and loved ones. You don’t have to uproot yourself, and you can stay exactly where you wish.
Thanks to in-home services and developing technologies that allow us to stay more mobile, remaining in our own home is more possible than ever before. If your family home is costing too much to maintain, downsizing could be the answer for you. Not only will this generally mean single level living so you don’t have to tax your knees on the stairs, but you can also take advantage of the built-up equity in your home to do things you may always have wanted to do.
Again, there are always options – including smaller homes and apartments. Many developers have started taking more account of the growing over 50s market, and include features that appeal to this age group, such as high-end finishings and designs that have flatter ground, easier appliances, and are located nearer to the services you require such as medical facilities, transport, and entertainment.
Of course, one of the very big advantages of staying independently is that you own the freehold and can do as you please in terms of selling the property, renting it out, or renovating it.
Share housing for seniors is on the rise in Australia. According to real estate company Domain, in 2016 flatmates.com.au recorded that the largest increase of house sharers were in the 60-64 age bracket, with 43% relative growth. There are a number of companies that offer and promote share housing for seniors.
For seniors thinking about share housing, there are a number of benefits to consider.
- Companionship – Share housing alleviates loneliness by providing constant companionship with someone of a similar age.
- Independence and safety – Having another person living at home is beneficial because they can provide help when needed, whether it is with cleaning, cooking, or even medical care.
- Saving money – Seniors would be saving on rent, groceries, transportation, and other general living expenses.
It is important that when searching for a roommate, a proper vetting process is done so the perfect person is found.
Staying with Family & Granny Flats
Inter-generational living has grown in popularity over the last few years, with a large proportion of Australians over 50 living with their families. This can be either sharing the family house of a child or living in a ‘Granny Flat’. There have been many studies to show that this type of arrangement can be beneficial for both parties.
The mature parent is in a secure environment and in close proximity to loved ones, including the much-loved grandkids. The grown child feels good that he or she is looking after the parent and can also rely on the parent to help with looking after the grandkids. This type of living keeps the mature parent active, healthier, and better engaged with the community at large.
The term ‘Granny Flat’ probably does not do justice to the innovative and great designs and options that are available. The flats can range from simple modular homes to quite luxurious, modern designs, depending upon the budget and available space.
Advantages of Renting
Whilst ownership seems to be highly preferred amongst Australians, rentals are a very realistic option. They are of course more affordable at the outset, and free up the equity in your home to use for other important aspects of your lifestyle. With rentals, there are no entry or exit fees, and of course no stamp duty or ongoing management fees. Another advantage of rentals is that you can stay for as long or as short a period as you want.
With so many options available, the over 50s are almost spoilt for choice.