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  • Writer's pictureBill Savellis

Different retirement living options explained

Elderly woman looking at papers

Retirement is an exciting time of new beginnings and life changes. Whether you're doing it for yourself or helping a loved one make the choice, deciding where to live during retirement requires careful consideration. You'll need to take into account factors such as location, cost, and lifestyle preferences. Luckily, plenty of options are available and, in this article, we've compiled a list of the five most popular types of retirement living and considerations for each. By taking the guesswork out and providing reliable information, we hope to help you make the best decision for your future.

Staying in the family home

There’s no place like home, and for many, that means staying in their family home. It makes sense for those who cherish their independence and the familiar surroundings they’ve grown to love. Living in the same neighbourhood also means staying close to the social networks built up over the years. But it does come with certain risks living on your own. That’s why it’s best suited for people with strong family and social networks who can help avoid loneliness and isolation, which can be a serious issue.


  • Repairs and Maintenance

As you approach retirement, it’s important to consider your home repairs and maintenance needs. If you’ve lived in your home for over 20 years, it’s likely that there are significant costs associated with maintaining an older property. Take the time to think about how you’ll handle this responsibility in the years to come.

  • Accessibility and Safety

As we age, our mobility can become compromised, making it harder to navigate our own homes. Keeping an open mind towards necessary home modifications for safety and comfort can make all the difference.

  • Isolation

Living alone can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially if your mobility or activity becomes restricted. Staying connected to loved ones and exploring ways to remain engaged with the world around you helps to combat these challenges.

  • Care and support

At some point, you may need extra assistance managing your daily tasks and need some level of nursing care. The government My Aged Care website is a great place to start when looking at your options.

Downsizing into an apartment or townhouse

When it comes to retirement, downsizing (or "rightsizing" as it's now popularly called) can be a smart move. Why? For one, you'll have less space to maintain, which means more time to focus on the things you love!

By moving into an apartment or townhouse, you can enjoy the same security you would in a detached house, but with smaller yards and fewer maintenance expenses. Plus, you can still have your privacy with a balcony, courtyard, or even a small garden. It's all about living simpler and enjoying the good things in life.


  • Home modifications

Thinking ahead before you move into your townhouse or apartment can save you a lot of hassle in the future. Take the time to make small adjustments, like adding handrails and widening hallways for accessibility. Remember, most townhouses are designed with stairs, so consider how long you'll be comfortable with going up and down. By looking to the future, you can ensure peace of mind and comfort in your new home.

  • Ownership

When purchasing a unit or townhouse, titles may vary and the concept of 'strata title' can be confusing. This title denotes ownership of both the property and a portion of shared space. To ensure that you're getting what you expect, it's advisable to seek legal guidance and review the 'strata scheme' carefully. With proper assistance, you can feel confident that you're making a sound investment.

  • Downsizing

When faced with the task of downsizing, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, your possessions hold an emotional attachment and can be tied to memories that have deeply ingrained themselves within you. Here is a list of downsizing tips to make the process easier and less stressful. It's important to recognise that decluttering and minimizing your belongings could take far longer than you anticipate. So, give yourself plenty of time to sort through everything, and remember that this isn't a process that has to be completed all at once, take it one step at a time.

Retirement Villages

Retirement villages have become a popular choice for those over the age of 65 in Australia. This style of retirement living offers a sense of community where residents can create an informal support network and form social groups. What sets retirement villages apart is that they provide security and support while allowing you to maintain your independence. Whether you're a single or a couple, you don't have to worry about property maintenance or gardening needs as the village staff take care of these for you. This leaves you free to enjoy an active social life or to go travelling and explore new places without any worries.

Retirement villages are like resorts but with additional lifestyle facilities such as gyms, heated indoor pools, billiard rooms, tennis courts, bowling greens, and more. They also offer services like cleaning, laundry, transportation, and diverse social and sporting activities. Some villages even allow small pets and encourage inviting family and friends to visit. With such a range of options, it's important to know what each village provides. Take the time to visit a few and have a clear understanding of all the village costs before making your decision.

Retirement villages provide a sense of stability that many find appealing. From the moment you move in, you'll know exactly what your outgoing payments will be. In today's unpredictable climate, having financial security can be a huge relief.


  • Choice

Retirement villages come in all shapes and sizes, and each offers a unique range of accommodation options to suit your lifestyle. Whether you're after a spacious family home, a cozy apartment, a townhouse with a garden, or a charming villa, there's something for everyone.

  • Care and Ownership

Take into consideration how your care will be provided and whether the retirement community offers on-site care or is located close to an aged care facility. Though you may not need care immediately, it’s wise to plan for the future and determine whether or not you can continue to live on your own, or if you'll require a move to a residential aged care facility.

Lifestyle Communities

These communities are also known as 'over 55s lifestyle communities'. They offer affordable living arrangements for retirees aged 50 and up who want to make the most of their golden years. You buy the physical structure of your home and lease the land it sits on, which is often gated for added security.

While you own the home, you will typically have fees or mandatory contributions that cover the maintenance and upkeep of facilities in the estate.


  • Contract

Operators are entitled to create their own agreements, especially restricting the use of communal property and modifications to the property. Before committing to anything, it is wise to seek legal guidance to safeguard yourself and secure the best agreement possible.

  • Care needs

These communities are designed for over 55's and will generally have been designed with accessibility and mobility to help residents age in place. Keep in mind that these communities don't offer any care services, but you can arrange for home care options. It's important to do your research so you can make the right choice for your needs.

Aged Care

Deciding to enter yourself or a loved one into residential aged care is one of the most difficult choices you can face. If you are considering this option, it's important to weigh the pros and cons. Aged care facilities offer live-in care for those who need round-the-clock assistance. They focus on providing clinical-based care for those who can no longer live independently in their own homes.


  • Quality of care

Take the time to thoroughly research the homes you are considering. By doing your homework and reading reports, you can ensure that you or your loved one will be staying in a safe environment that provides exceptional care.

  • Location

Make sure to select a facility that is near your family and unlike other retirement living options, partners are unable to share apartments or rooms.

  • Social activities and community

Discovering the perfect balance of social activities and connection is key when it comes to residential aged care. It's never too late to feel a sense of belonging in a community. Don't hesitate to investigate what's available and get a feel for the community you're considering.

Every person has a unique situation and individual requirements when it comes to retirement living. It's always advantageous to include contingencies and share your plan with loved ones who may be involved with your care. Remember to seek financial advice early on, as it plays a significant part in your overall future plans. Contact our team today and see how we can help you.

Headshot of Bill Savellis

Bill Savellis

Senior Financial Adviser

Having navigated the Aged Care landscape for both of his parents, Bill understands how challenging it can be to make the right decisions for your future care needs. That's why he believes that everyone should have access to financial advice during this time. Bill has been a Financial Adviser for over 22 years, and is passionate about helping others access the financial advice they need. Drawing from his own experience in the financial sector, Bill develops strategic, personalised plans to support transitions to Aged Care or Home Care.


Disclaimer: Prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, Olive Grove Financial Advice recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Information in this article was correct and current as of 7 November 2023. Olive Grove Financial Advice is operated by Bill Savellis through The Financial Advisor (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 72 619 546 431, who is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 1278394) of Havana Financial Services Pty Ltd.


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