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Tired of all the hassles of maintaining your home? Has mowing the lawn become too much for you? Do you want leisure activities at your doorstep and a greater sense of community? Do you need extra care? If you’re answers are “yes” and you’re aged between 55 and 90 then a retirement village could be for you.

But it’s an important, life-changing decision and there are a lot of things to consider. The tips below, while not exhaustive, will give you somewhere to start.

Type of Accommodation

Not all retirement villages offer all styles of accommodation. What would suit you best? Do you need your own villa with a small garden, or would the convenience of apartment-style living suit you better? Are you able to perform your own housekeeping, or do you need serviced accommodation? Perhaps, also, you may need a higher level of care.

Future Changes

You may be perfectly healthy now, but what about the future? It might be worth looking at retirement villages that have rest homes or hospitals onsite. If you should move from retirement village accommodation to a higher care facility in later years, what will the financial impact be?

Mobility

If you take townhouse or apartment style accommodation now, will the stairs present a problem in years to come? Does the retirement village provide an accessible environment for people with reduced mobility?

Lifestyle

What sort of life do you want to lead in your retirement village? Do you want to be near the sea, a golf course, out in the country? Or do you still want the stimulation of a more urban environment and, perhaps, to be closer to family members?

Activities and Facilities

Just as the type of accommodation varies between retirement villages, so do the facilities and activities they offer. Does the village you are contemplating offer a maintenance service for your unit? Do they provide adequate security, transport to the local shops, someone to look after your garden if you have one?

And what about your leisure? Are there regular organised outings for the residents, clubs you can join, arts and crafts sessions where you can express your creativity? Are there communal lounges for residents to socialise in? Is there a library, a swimming pool… You might not need all of these things, but think about what you do want. Your life should be rich and stimulating.

Costs and Fees

Finances are paramount in everyone’s mind. What are the ongoing fees for services and activities? Will you be able to afford them? Don’t be afraid to ask.

What are the financial implications of moving into a retirement home? What happens if you should want to move out? What happens when you die? A visit to a financial advisor who has experience with retirement villages before you sign anything may well be worth the time and expense.

Modifying Your Home

Your home reflects your personality, but some villages may have rules which restrict the changes you can make to your accommodation. If you’re planning a bit of DIY, make sure you know what you can and can’t do.

Do Your Research

When you’ve made a shortlist of retirement villages go and visit them. Many villages have open days at certain times of the year, and those that don’t will almost certainly be happy to facilitate your visit. Make a thorough tour, inspect all the facilities, meet the staff, ask as many questions as you can think of and note down the important answers.

Perhaps one of the best ways to get a true picture of what life will be like at a particular retirement village is to speak to some of the residents. Who better to advise you than someone who already lives there?

Family

Discuss your proposed move to a retirement village with your family. There will be both emotional and financial issues to work through.

Peace of Mind

Retirement villages provide independent living, while removing many of life’s chores. Within this supportive environment, and with the reassurance of on-call assistance, you’ll have more time to pursue your interests and nurture your relationships with friends and family.

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Resources

Below are some links you might find useful on your journey to find the right retirement village for you.

http://www.grownups.co.nz/list/lifestyle/retirement

http://www.eldernet.co.nz/Home

http://www.seniorlink.co.nz/

How to Choose a Retirement Village, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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