If all the world’s a stage, the third act is always the most interesting one. You’ve ticked a lot of things off your list over the last few decades. Most likely you’ve raised a family. Probably you’ve pursued a few career paths. Built a home. Accrued friends, communities, belongings, financial security, wisdom, experiences and memories along the way. Won some, lost some..!
The next chapter beckons, and you get to choose how it’s going to look. So perhaps now is the time you are taking stock, looking around, asking pertinent questions and starting to make some important decisions.
What is important to you right now? What are the things that are going to enrich your life into its next phase? And conversely, what are the things you are ready to leave behind?
For many people at this time, the response to that last question may centre around living arrangements. Often that large family home no longer serves your current needs, and is in fact becoming an anchor around your neck. The kids have moved on, you’re no longer juggling the 9 to 5 of work and parenting as you once did. The big garden was great, but you don’t feel the urge to be a slave to it any more. Looking ahead, upkeep and maintenance may not be how you plan to spend your well-earned time and money. And if you project further into the future, it’s likely your needs will change again. It’s often less a question of ‘downsizing’ as ‘right-sizing.’ So for these and all sorts of reasons, you may be considering a move.
Making the decision to reframe the next chapter of your life in a whole new living environment can seem like a daunting one. So many options to consider. But so many possibilities. With more time on your hands, and perhaps less time devoted to home maintenance, what might that mean?
Of course, it will mean different things to everyone. But perhaps it means more quality time with the grandchildren. Maybe it’s the big trip you’ve longed for, or the freedom to explore locally, living each day on your own terms. Maybe there’s that half-written novel. Some other special project or hobby, or more involvement with your local community. Maybe you’re ready to embrace a whole new community or make some new friends.
Maybe, like so many people, you’re considering a home, garden and lifestyle that is more manageable, now and into the future, with everything you need close at hand. So have you considered the lifestyle, security and opportunities offered by retirement village living?
Ok, so the word ‘retirement’ may not be in your lexicon. But remember, retirement doesn’t look anything like it did for previous generations. Today’s ‘retirees’ are much more likely to be active, fit, tech-savvy, informed, engaged and discerning. You have lived through colourful and changing times. This has shaped who you are, and who you continue to be. You live independently, you make your own choices and you have a lot of living to do. So you get to choose the lifestyle that is going to best support you.
So much for the ‘retirement’ part. What about the ‘village’? By definition a village is a community of people going about their daily lives while living in proximity to one another. But over and above this, a village is a community. In a village, there is a connection, a sense of individuals coming together and bringing who they are and their stories to contribute to and be part of something bigger than themselves.
A retirement village is no different, except that the community will be comprised of people at similar life stages, and the running of the premises is overseen by a specialist manager or operator. While villages vary enormously in terms of their size, location, accommodation style and the facilities they offer, every village has a commitment to support its residents to live their best lives. Lifestyle should always be the number one consideration in a retirement village. Every aspect is geared to make life comfortable, manageable and stress-free, so that you can live as you choose, whether that is continuing to work, pursuing other interests, grandparent duties or ‘locking up and leaving’ as you indulge that travel bug. Contrary to some common misconceptions, many retirement villages are vibrant, rich and lively communities.
WHY A RETIREMENT VILLAGE?
A retirement village may be the perfect solution that you are seeking, regardless of whether you are single or a couple. There are, of course, many other choices to explore. You can ‘age in place’ in your current home, perhaps with some necessary modifications as your needs transition down the track. There are options for those who need greater support for daily living at this stage. There are communities that function like retirement villages but are not governed by the same legislation, and there are serviced apartments and land lease communities. In short, there are options for every budget and lifestyle, and a plethora of accessible online information about all of them.
In a retirement village, you continue to live independently as you always have, most often in a stand-alone home, townhouse, terrace house or apartment which you either buy, lease or license. However, the communal areas of the premises such as gardens, roads, paths and facilities are managed by the village operator. With access to these shared spaces, facilities and various services, you gain all the benefits of a ready-made community.
Research increasingly points to the importance of social connectivity for our ongoing physical, mental and emotional well-being. In a retirement village, it’s all about choice. You can choose to engage as much or as little as you like with the community and its activities – but chances are you will find like-minded individuals and people who you ‘click’ with!
As mentioned earlier, every retirement village is different and this is why as you start this journey it is so important to shop around. You will need to do your research and engage in a lot of different conversations, with family, friends, village operators and financial and legal advisors, before you find the village that is right for you and make your decision. Factors you may want to consider include:
- The location – this includes climate, as well as proximity to family, friends and the things that are important to you
- The amenities, services and facilities offered
- Financial considerations
- Entering and exiting – what is involved, and what are your obligations?
- The type of accommodation offered, and how this aligns with your needs and lifestyle goals
- The social activities offered
- Access to services
- Provision for changing needs
- Can you have family and visitors over?
- Can you have your pets?
- The ‘vibe’ – is this your kind of place?
If a hands-on, people-centred approach is important to you, Oak Tree retirement villages should definitely be on your radar. For nearly twenty years, Oak Tree have remained committed to their goal of making the possibility of a secure, worry-free and manageable retirement a reality for everyone.
Moreover, at Oak Tree we pride ourselves on maintaining a more personalised, boutique approach with smaller numbers of homes for our residents than many other operators. The benefits of this smaller-scale approach are many, but first and foremost, we are able to put our people first and as a result the communities we build are close-knit ones.
Our villages are also ‘communities within communities’, with strong ties to their local area. Every Oak tree village has a different look and feel, depending on its location, landscape, building style and the range of facilities that are offered, but every single one is underpinned by this same philosophy and commitment to delivering the ultimate in retirement village living. We strongly encourage you to get in touch, come and visit, chat to some of our residents and see for yourself if you could imagine joining our Oak Tree community.