When considering a move to a retirement community, many over 55s are worried that they’ll be giving up their freedom and privacy when they move out of the family home. But is this really the case?
The answer depends on your chosen retirement village or community. With such a diverse range of retirement living options available, you’ll need to look closely at the type of housing, the management setup and rules of any potential locations.
Here’s some key questions to ask potential villages:
Can I come and go as I please?
Many over 55s communities are gated for safety and security, and this is one of the benefits that attracts people to retirement living. But that shouldn’t restrict your freedom to head out and about whenever you like – so choose a community that gives you unrestricted 24/7 access.
And with many people making the most of the opportunity to travel more when retired, it’s important to find a village or lifestyle park that supports you on your adventures. Gated communities offer the peace of mind that your home is safe and cared for while you’re away – whether it’s a short trip to visit family, or an extended period of travel. Plus, if you’ve invested in a caravan or motorhome so you can hit the road more often, look for a village that also has on-site caravan storage available.
Can I Have Visitors and Pets?
This will vary, so if you are likely to have visitors, be sure to check the rules of any potential village and choose a location that welcomes friends and family of residents to stay anytime. And if you think that you may have visitors often, choose a home that is large enough to accommodate friends and relatives when they drop by.
Pets are allowed at some villages, however, they will usually need to be approved by management and meet some conditions. It’s important that your home is suited to them too – for example, a large dog would not be happy in a small apartment or unit.
How Involved in Community Life Do I Need to Be?
This is up to you – you can get involved as much or as little as you like. Most retirement and lifestyle villages have plenty of organised activities to choose from, so if you want to participate there’s bound to be something you’re keen to try. There’s generally also lots of shared spaces on the grounds – places like the recreational room, and communal BBQ and dining areas are perfect places to meet with others and socialise.
On the other hand, if you’d rather do your own thing, you’re welcome to do that too. If this is more your style, choose a village that includes homes and grounds with plenty of space for you to explore and relax.
Will I Have My Own Private Yard?
Many retirement village homes don’t include much of a yard, and this is disappointing for those retirees who are looking forward to spending the extra time they now have available in the garden. But the good news is that there are retirement communities that offer larger, fenced blocks so that you can enjoy pottering around in your own garden and private space. And some homes even include alfresco dining areas so residents can really make the most of the great outdoors.
Keep in mind that having a fence gives you more privacy – so if this is a priority, be sure to go with a community that includes fencing.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to freedom and privacy, choosing a village that offers the level you need is the key. So be sure to ask the right questions up front, visit any potential communities to view the homes and talk to current residents to get some added insight from their experiences.
And who knows – when you no longer have the burden of home maintenance, the worry of financial pressures and the stress of a busy neighbourhood, you may even find that the village lifestyle offers you even more freedom and privacy than you enjoyed before.