A senior couple enjoying a happy retirement at one of our villages

How retirement living is fostering happy retirees and solving Australia’s housing crisis in the process.

From combatting loneliness to fostering active living and cultivating an overall sense of happiness amongst seniors, retirement living stands out as the optimal choice for modern retirees seeking to downsize and embrace a more fulfilling lifestyle, all while positively contributing to Australia’s growing housing shortage.

In November of 2023, the Retirement Living Council commissioned a study called Better Housing for Better Health, which explored the care and cost effectiveness of retirement living. Overall, the study found that retirement communities provide health, societal and economic benefits to residents and the broader Australian community, all while reducing pressure on Australia’s housing and healthcare systems –providing affordable, perfectly suited housing options for older Australians, delaying entry into aged care, and ultimately saving state, territory, and federal budgets hundreds of millions per year.

With facilities that prioritise wellness, likeminded neighbours that provide a support system, and a home that is built to suit changing needs, it’s no wonder modern day retirees will attest to the fact that retirement living is the right move.

If you’ve been thinking about retiring or downsizing, ensure you consider retirement living for a vibrant future that prioritises your happiness and wellbeing!

Why modern day retirees are choosing retirement living.

Australia is currently experiencing a demographic shift in which our population is aging due to increasing life expectancy and declining fertility rates, with the fastest growing cohort being people aged 75 to 79.

Life expectancies in Australia are currently amongst the highest in the world, meaning more years of full health and wellbeing. This is causing older Australians to aspire for more in their retirement years, with one out of three people over the age of 75 staying active every day of the week!

Retirees today no longer view retirement as a dull time of decline, but rather an exciting new chapter dedicated to making the most of their newfound freedom and time!

Exercise and outdoor activities are far more important to retirees today, and as a result, they’re able to maintain their independence for longer, and sustain a social and active lifestyle as they age.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that retirement villages are becoming a popular choice for older Australians.  With likeminded neighbours, purpose-built facilities, and regular social events, modern day retirement villages provide a relaxed, comfortable setting to enjoy the post-work chapter of life!

Retirement living combating loneliness in older Australians.

Sadly, loneliness, inactivity, and depression among older citizens is a growing area of concern across the globe.

While loneliness as an issue can be underestimated, late last year, The World Health Organisation declared it to be a pressing global threat, with mortality effects equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The declaration comes after the Covid-19 pandemic halted all social activity, leading to increasing levels of isolation and loneliness across the world.

The study commissioned by the Retirement Living Council in November 2023 showed just how many societal benefits there are to retirement living, and how effective it is in combatting loneliness in older Australians.

It found that people who live in retirement villages are more physically active, socially active with friends and family, and happier people overall! 9 in 10 residents have a social committee or program, alongside extensive community amenities that encourage social engagement.

It also found that residents who live in retirement villages are more engaged with the wider community, up to 5 times more socially active, and are twice as likely to get together with family and friends. They’re also overall physically and mentally happy people, in fact 41% happier than they were before they made the move.

Lower levels of social engagement are associated with decreased physical activity, unhealthy sleep patterns, poor self-rated health, and overall low quality of life, highlighting just how important and beneficial retirement living is as an option for older Australians.

Retirement living promotes an active, healthy lifestyle.

The study commissioned by the Retirement Living Council showed that retirement living promotes better health for residents, by enabling access to facilities that encourage physical activity.

Retirement villages, including each of our Oak Tree villages, have recreational facilities within them such as village centres, outdoor bowling greens, swimming pools, village busses offering scheduled trips to town, and communal vegetable gardens that encourage an active, healthy lifestyle.

As a result of facilities like this across retirement villages in Australia, residents are 15% more frequently physically active, and also 20% less likely to require hospitalisation.

They enable older people to easily engage in physical activity by minimising barriers that prevent people from being active when they live alone. The facilities allow for group activities like yoga, gentle movement, and aqua aerobics to take place within the village, meaning it’s incredibly convenient and cost effective for residents to attend. These activities are wonderful for promoting movement as well as community connectivity and socialisation!

Almost one third of residents at retirement villages participate in fitness programs, over two thirds participate in moderate activity at least once a week, and they are more likely to report higher frequencies of moderate activity overall.

The study also found that retirement villages provide improved access to GPs and allied health professionals, and therefore can delay entry into aged care.

At Oak Tree, each of our villages are thoughtfully located nearby to medical services, providing improved access to health professionals for our residents, many of whom have made the move from larger properties in regional locations.

Our villas and apartments are purpose-built for seniors, with thoughtful design choices like step-free floors, wide doorways, and walk in showers, that allow our residents to age in place.

Each of these elements allow our residents to live comfortably and independently for longer, delaying entry into aged care facilities.

Residents of retirement living are happier overall.

It’s not uncommon for older Australians to face feelings of loneliness and unique mental health challenges as they age. Decreased interaction with others, health issues, and perceived lower control can all be risk factors for low mental health.

When it comes to residents of retirement communities, the study found that they are happier overall, and report higher mental and social wellbeing outcomes.

The residents at our Oak Tree villages can attest to this, and often talk about how much happier they are since making the move and wish they did it 10 years sooner! They enjoy the comfort and feeling of connectivity that comes with being surrounded by likeminded people in a tight knit, boutique sized community.  

With increasing worry around loneliness after The World Health Organisation labelled it a growing public health concern in 2023, it’s highlighted that the government needs to focus on solutions. It also presents an opportunity for us to share what we’ve known for a long time – that retirement communities bring people together, leading to better health outcomes for older Australians.

Retirement living and Australia’s housing shortage.

In 2021, nearly three quarters of people aged 75 and over were living in oversized dwellings, representing more than 1.4 million older Australians. As people age, larger dwellings increase health risks, with most cases of falls in older people occurring at home. From stairs without railings to clutter and poor lighting, there are several features often found in older homes that can increase the risk of an accident, especially for those who live alone.

When you make the move to retirement living, you say goodbye to stairs, risky property maintenance responsibilities, costs involved with maintaining a large dwelling, social isolation, and several other ongoing expenses. It’s designed to provide an affordable rightsizing option, with entry prices 48 per cent lower on average than median house prices.

Australia is currently experiencing a major housing crisis, the fastest growing age cohort being between 75 and 79 years old with an annual growth rate of 6.6 per cent, compared to an overall growth rate across all other age groups of 2.4 per cent.

In light of this, the retirement living industry has the opportunity to provide more housing supply and help to lower pressure on Australia’s growing housing shortage, whilst also providing an amazing lifestyle change for residents!

In summary, retirement living is proving to be a transformative solution, not just for the residents who choose it, but for the broader societal challenges such as loneliness and the country’s housing shortage. Retirement living offers a pathway to happiness and fulfilment for modern retirees, providing them with an active, healthy lifestyle and supportive community of likeminded people.

It also contributes significantly to addressing Australia’s housing crisis by offering affordable, well-suited housing options for older Australians. As our population continues to age, retirement living emerges as a crucial solution in ensuring a better quality of life for seniors while combatting societal issues in the process.

At Oak Tree, our residents are at the forefront of everything we do. Our communities are boutique in size, allowing for close connections to be formed with your likeminded neighbours. Each of our villages have thoughtfully chosen facilities that are designed specifically to encourage active, independent living, allowing you to live a happier, healthier lifestyle. If you’ve been thinking about downsizing or exploring retirement living options, consider making the move to Oak Tree for a future that prioritises your happiness and wellbeing!

To take the next steps in your retirement living journey, call 1300 367 155 today and learn more about a future with Oak Tree.

Your exciting new lifestyle awaits

Find your local Oak Tree Retirement Village community today. 

Or call us on 1300 367 155

Oak Tree Retirement Villages