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5 things to consider before moving to a retirement village

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

The idea of moving and transitioning into retirement living can be daunting. For many Australians, this involves a decision-making process that requires considerations such as lifestyle choices, family proximity, location, health, and the all-important financial and affordability factors. Combining these to culminate in the right decision can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t need to be.

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For some people, the move to a retirement village is an important change of gear, from maintaining a big family home to moving into a community with like-minded individuals not too far from their roots and making life a little easier to manage.

For others, it is a change perhaps driven by the desire for greater social interaction and the opportunity to build new friendships and make new memories.

As a director and founder of the Oak Tree Group, I believe that every Australian deserves a relaxed, secure, and lower maintenance retirement where you can stay and thrive in the community you already know and love.

We recognise that moving into a retirement village is a major life decision and we want to support you on that journey so you can take your time and transition with ease. Below are some key considerations to help you decide on the best option for you and your future needs.

1. Location

Looking at responses collected from thousands of our Oak Tree residents, we’ve found the most important consideration for first-time retirement village buyers is the location. Many over 55s are comfortable with where they’re currently living and would prefer to stay in the community they know and love, close to family.

Unfortunately, not every regional area has access to supportive infrastructure like purpose-built retirement villages. All too often, seniors from regional locations have no choice but to move to the nearest bigger city to access the services and facilities they require as their needs change with age. This presents numerous challenges associated with being ‘forced’ to relocate, leaving behind their familiar community and lifestyle.

Part of our goal here at Oak Tree is that we want to keep people local, wherever possible, and preserve the local community. This is why our retirement villages have a strong regional focus as well as metropolitan.

When we choose a new village location, we want to ensure that there is surrounding supporting infrastructure to make life easier for the residents. We want our villages to be a part of the greater community and provide easy access to medical and social support facilities.

2. Unlocking equity in your family home

When you begin thinking about retirement, it is likely you have substantial equity in your home, or you might even own it outright. Selling your home presents the perfect opportunity to free up money for your retirement. Even if you have already decided to downsize, you still need to consider many financial, practical, legal, and emotional factors that come into play.

However, it is important to involve your family in your decision to sell. Selling the family home where you raised your children and leaving behind close neighbours and friends can be difficult and so we encourage open discussions between family members to ensure everyone is engaged in the process.

At Oak Tree, we are experienced in providing support and guidance during these often-stressful processes. We spend a lot of time discussing in-depth with people to offer support with the sale of their homes and the transition into retirement living. Oak Tree can help maintain your peace of mind and secure your future, it’s as simple as making an enquiry today.

3. Consider the lower maintenance lifestyle offering

Having the freedom and time to do more of what you love is so valuable, especially as you move into your senior years.

Many residents make the move to Oak Tree looking for a lower maintenance lifestyle. Quite often the family home has become too big, the yards and gardens increasingly more difficult to maintain, the house more challenging to clean, and just as soon as everything is tended to, the cycle starts all over again!

Our staff care for the facilities and there are different maintenance models for each village including external maintenance of your village and cleaning of village common areas. Our residents no longer have the burden of such arduous tasks and feel a sense of freedom to do the things they enjoy most.

If you have a green thumb and enjoy pottering in the garden, there is certainly the option to do so too.

4. Couples versus individuals

Whether you make the move alone or as a couple, our residents enjoy a strong camaraderie with their fellow neighbours balanced with the knowledge that they can enjoy the privacy, peace, and quiet of their own home if they so wish.

We commonly hear residents say they wish they’d moved sooner once they’ve done it. They realise in our boutique communities having people around them at similar stages of life helps form a community of like-minded individuals where social activity and companionship can thrive.

And if they lose their partner as a resident, there’s support from others who have faced similar challenges in their lives. The great thing is there is an opportunity for independence if that is your preference, or more support if you require it.

5. A supportive community

Being able to live locally in a safe, vibrant, and caring community is just as important as your personal sense of comfort, state of wellbeing, and peace of mind for your friends and family.

We recommend booking a private tour of the village and asking to speak with residents to understand what the community is like. Retirement villages can help create a strong sense of community so it’s important you feel a sense of belonging with your neighbours from the outset. You may also want to consider inviting your family to the village to spend time understanding the offering and facilities with you.

Other factors to consider

Finding a retirement village that supports your transition is important to time your future in the right way.

Explore other important factors to consider before making the move by downloading the helpful free checklist put together by Starts at 60 in partnership with Oak Tree: “Considering a Retirement Village: The Ultimate Checklist”

This free e-guide is packed with critical information and easy-to-complete exercise to help guide your journey into retirement living. 

This story first appeared on Startsat60.com.