Retirement Community Life
I live in a Retirement Village in Australia.
From what I have read they are the same as a Retirement Community in North America.
As I have been living here for the past 3 years I feel qualified to let you know what it is like to enjoy Retirement Community Life.
Most of the residents in our retirement village that I know, I don’t know all of them as we have over 700, think it is a great place to be and love their life.
We have 3 levels of units available.
These are Independent Living – where you look after yourself – Serviced Apartments, also known as Assisted Living – where meals are provided, and sheets are cleaned and changed. Your unit is cleaned – Aged Care, otherwise known as Nursing Home, a full care situation.
For more information in The US please refer to this article on Wikipedia.
To see what is available to help you remain independent I refer you to this article on our site.
What does it cost to live in a retirement community?
It is very difficult to answer this question for you.
There are so many individual situations.
First you have your monthly fees for the community you live in.
Depending on the level of unit you occupy these all vary.
If you live in an independen living unit you wont pay as much as the other levels as ou will be providing your own meals and cleaning.
This is acceptable as they are running a business and have different costs to all other villages.
All communities charge different fees.
Then you must allocate living expenses such as food, insurances, motor vehicle running costs, pet costs and power and phone accounts.
Are you a couple or single?
Do you travel?
Dining Out costs?
All these should be taken into account.
I am sure you can see now why I cannot answer the question as to the costs to live in a retirement community.
Apart from your living costs all communities have different costs.
What is There to do in a Retirement Community
After beginning your retirement community life you will quickly become amazed at what you can do to keep entertained.
You will quickly form many new friendships.
My experience was meeting with other residents in the block where I live and spending many happy hours conversing with other residents at the mailbox.
What should have been a two minute walk there and back quite often turned into a couple of hours.
We also have a coffee bar which is a great place to met and mingle.
There are free shopping trips to shopping centers near our village on most week days.
The village I live in provides the bus as well as the driver.
These are weekly although some shopping centers may change.
The service the driver provides on the return trip is excellent.
She drops you at your unit and if you are a bit frail she also carries your groceries to the door of your unit.
A restaurant to share meals with other residents.
Monthly bus trips to nearby country districts which the cost includes morning tea and lunch.
Many sports to become involved in.
These include Bowls, Croquet, Swimming, Archery, Tennis, Snooker and Billiars, Indoor Bowls and Darts.
Other activities are cards both 500 and bridge, art, scrabble, knitting and crafts.
Sports and activities are weekly for most of the year except for a few weeks over Christmas.
There is a group that meets once a month for Opera movies.
A village bar is open one night a week and is well supported.
Quite often there is entertainment at a reasonable cost in our auditorium.
Church services are held weekly.
Exercise sessions are also held on a weekly basis.
Obviously this is our village and other retirement communities would have similar but not the same activities.
Services On Site
We are lucky to have other services provided on site.
A fully staffed medical center Monday to Friday.
Residents may avail of the Doctors here or if they prefer a doctor from outside the village may elect to see that person.
A Pharmacy. Situated conveniently outside the Medical Center, you can get prescriptions as well as other items there.
A Hair Dressing Salon. This hairdresses cuts and styles both Women’s and Men’s hair for a reasonable price.
The Village also provides a security service and a full time Nursing Service which operates for 24 hours a day.
All residents are provided with a call button that hangs around the neck and can push the button to get help.
Do I Have to Participate If I Don’t Wish To
Nothing here is compulsory.
If you just wish to stay in your unit by yourself all day that is OK and you won’t be disturbed unless someone thinks you may be ill.
You can participate as much as you wish or dont wish.
Should I Live in a Retirement Community?
I felt when I moved into this retirement village or community the time was right.
It was about 12 months after my wife had passed.
I was living in a country town about 2 hours away from my children and worrying when they were on the highway coming to see me.
An inspection of the village was arranged, and while I was looking over the village, I spoke with some residents who all looked happy and content.
I then had to sell my house but these were the main reasons I moved.
Some of the other considerations you may decide to think about are
- Can I still manage in my own home?
- Is the family home now too big?
- Am I looking for new friends or activities?
- Are my children concerned for my safety in the family home?
- Are my children concerned for another reason?
What to Do?
Discuss with your children / family / friends their concerns for you.
Go and visit some retirement communities with other family members and do a full inspection and get all the details of costs and what is provided.
If they have more than independant living units ask what they can do for you in the future if your health fails.
Don’t do what I did and buy the first unit you see.
I bought a two bedroom unit and not a one bedroom unit for which am paying an extra $100 in monthly fees.
Ask them if it is a lease or freehold?
If there is another facility in the area do the same so you can compare the different deals.
When you are armed with all the information, you need to decide once again, have a family/friends conference, and go over the whole thing.
Now You Have Decided What is There for You to Do
The hardest thing for people like you and me to do is to downsize from the family home to the new unit.
What I did was to work out the dimensions of the unit, that was easy as I had been given a plan of it with the measurements on the plan.
Next I measured the furniture and decided what to keep and what to get rid of.
For the furniture I decided not to keep, I rang a local charity and they came and picked it up after my house sold.
While got rid of a lot of other items I wasn’t taking with me I gave them to friends and family.
No one came to see me left without something.
This part I didn’t do well enough as I found when moving in I kept too much linen.
You will find there will be a lot of sentimental items you have.
This is probably the hardest decision to make.
I kept a lot not being able to let go some of which I haven’t looked at or used since coming here.
Can You Still Live and Work in a Retirement Community?
From my understanding the age restrictions are the only barrier to living in a retirement community however ask the question at the inspection of each village you look at.
By doing this you will know and ask for it in writing so you are covered for the future.
I trust this article has answered your questions about Retirement Communities and given you some information about how to go about finding out about your particular situation.
Many Thanks for your interest.