As we get older it’s almost impossible not to think (and sometimes worry) about what the future holds. We want to maintain a firm grip on our independence, but are also getting just a bit tired of sorting out home maintenance and keeping everything clean.

But unlike our parents’ generation who held on to the family home until they had no other choice, the current generation of retirees are hyper aware of our need to plan for a future full of unknowns to ensure that we do not end up becoming a burden to our kids or family members.

If this sounds like you, then chances are, you may have started looking at what options are available to you in your local area. Independent living retirement villages are the most logical next step but how do you even know what questions to ask when you do decide to pay the ones you’re looking at a visit?

With financial, health, design and social aspects to consider, this process can sometimes be a little overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.

Looking for a comprehensive list of ALL the questions you should ask? Download our free comprehensive guide: All the questions to ask when considering a retirement village

Here’s a summary of the top 5 questions to ask yourself and the villages you’re considering.

Is the village going to be adaptable to my needs as I age?

Forward planning is paramount when deciding if a retirement village is right for you.

Considerations like whether there is a care continuum or other options in place to support you as your needs change are something to think about.

For example, are you able to downsize to a smaller apartment within the village if a larger apartment no longer suits you? How flexible are the in-home services available? Do they allow you to pick and choose what you’d like? Is there an aged care facility onsite or nearby so if you or your partner develop higher care needs you will still be close to each other?

The Avenue Maroochydore has a great policy that enables you to move within and between the villages in their network without incurring fees. This means that if you wish to move from a 3 bedroom apartment into a studio you can at no charge. It also means that if you’d like a change of location, you can easily move to another apartment by the sea or closer to the city. 

What security features does the village have?

As we age, security becomes more and more important. It’s unsurprisingly one of the key motivators for over-65s to start thinking about moving into retirement living.

One of the major advantages of life at a retirement village like The Avenue Maroochydore is that they have a number of security measures in place to ensure the safety of residents at all times of day and night. These can include external lighting, secure parking and storage lockers, intercom systems, onsite village manager, and other measures to ensure you feel safe in your home.

Ask village operators what safety measures they have in place and assess whether they are acceptable to you.

Is the village’s accessible both in regards to design and location?

To understand if the villages you’re considering have good accessibility, you’ll need to take into consideration everything from location to transport links to design.

Downsizing does not have to mean downgrading, so when you start evaluating a village, it’s useful to think about factors like how close it is to the services, restaurants and shops you like to visit, whether there are public transport options within walking distance as well as how easy it is to get around the village and what facilities you can enjoy onsite.

Ask the villages you visit about what age-appropriate design features have been implemented throughout the village and inside the apartments to get an understanding of how what living there may be like if in future should you become less mobile.

Some features you may be looking for include; non-slip tiles, wide corridors, no steps and 24/7 emergency call systems.

What is the real cost of living in this village and can I afford it?

Whether you are a self-funded retiree or drawing a pension, both upfront and ongoing costs can have significant impacts on your cashflow and quality of life.

That’s why it is important to ask the village operator to outline a comprehensive list of your upfront, ongoing and on-exit costs, including weekly/fortnightly/annual service fees as well as sales/marketing and reinstatement costs when you leave the village.

Ensure you understand if the village operates under a DMF (Deferred Management Fee) or Strata model and what you will consequently leave with when you sell.

Assess the pros and cons of each operator by downloading our free comprehensive quide: All the questions to ask when considering a retirement village to ensure you get a deep understanding of all the costs involved.

And remember, if an operator is not willing to explain their financial model in detail and the rationale behind it, there could be hidden costs, so ensure you take with you a list of questions and that you walk out with clear answers.

Does this village suit me personally, physically and socially?

Arguably this is the most important question to answer when trying to assess if a retirement village is right for you.

What facilities does the village offer? Will you be able to continue your hobbies? What clubs, social groups or activities are on offer?

Or importantly, will you get a say in the day-to-day management decisions that affect the village residents?

It’s important to consider aspects that are both tangible and intangible. Yes, you may be impressed by the lovely pool and the beautiful balconies but how does the village actually ‘feel’. Are you greeted with a smile by the staff? Do you relate to the village manager? Do the residents look like they are enjoying life there?

Planning a visit to a retirement village? We know there is a lot to consider. Download our free comprehensive guide: All the questions to ask when considering a retirement village.

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