For those of you who are planning for a lifestyle change in retirement, making a decision on the place that’s right for you can be challenging. With different names tossed about, such as retirement villages, over 55’s villages, and lifestyle villages, it’s confusing.
The main difference with living in a lifestyle village is that you manage your own life and plan your activities. You are a part of the decision-making process when it comes to how the village is run too, along with the other village residents. On the other hand, if you reside in a retirement village, in many cases, the village managers/ owners are responsible for the entire management of the village, along with organizing day-to-day functions and activities.
Over 55s villages often refer to both lifestyle villages and retirement villages. The reasoning behind having a mature community varies, but there are shared views among the senior community. These include wanting to be a part of a community with like-minded people. Sharing in such a community ensures that your social activities are more likely to align. Living in a mature community also presents a sense of security.
Lifestyle villages tend to have resort-style facilities, including swimming pools, club houses, libraries, and cinemas. Retirement villages can offer the same resort-style facilities as lifestyle villages, however, they tend to have more care facilities available. For example, they may offer serviced apartments, on-call nurses, and emergency buzzes in apartments. They may also have an aged care facility attached to them.
The key differences between lifestyle villages and retirement villages are based on the management of the villages, and the legislation involved.
In lifestyle villages, residents form committees to manage village matters. For example, they might form a social committee or a gardening committee. The management of the village will charge residents rent to manage the upkeep and infrastructure of the village.
Retirement villages are more closely managed. Management organizes the daily operations and activities and invites residents to participate, rather than residents organizing it themselves. Legislation surrounding retirement villages varies from state to state. We recommend reading about the retirement villages legislation in your state and getting legal and financial advice before making any final decisions.
In a lifestyle village, you own your own home, but you lease the land. This helps with village costs, on-site management, maintenance of the surroundings, and maintenance of communal facilities. It’s very much like a caravan park, or mobile home village.
In a lifestyle village, there’s typically no body corporate fees as there would be in an apartment. This is because the lease/ rent payments cover the facility maintenance. But when you leave a lifestyle village you’ll typically pay a surrender fee. It’s a scaled amount based on how long you’ve lived in the village. On the upside, it’s a capped amount and you don’t have to pay it until you sell the apartment/ unit.
At the end of the day, it’s really important to do your research and make a decision based on what suits your needs and goals best. Seek legal advice before entering into any agreements, and contact Centrelink to discuss any changes that may impact your benefits.
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