Pros and Cons of Different Types of Retirement Living

Do you remember the song by The Clash “ Should I Stay or Should I Go‘?  the indecision of ‘if I go will there will be trouble’ and ‘if I stay there will be double’ are relevant issues as you consider whether to stay in your own home or move to assisted living . Where you live in retirement and as you age can be a difficult decision and the earlier you consider the options, the more options you will have.  Like any big decision, it is best made when you have all the information. To help you with your research we list below the various retirement living options and the pro’s and con’s.

Living Independently – your home, a downsized home or rented home  

‘Ageing in place’ means being able to continue to live independently in the community, this maybe the family home or it can also mean a downsized home or rented home (whether public or privately rented).

Pros

  • Preference: Independence, choice and control
  • Comfort: Familiar surrounding
  • Individualised: Home care can be bought in and tailored to your needs
  • Cost: When you need a little support to stay in your home care, care and services can be bought in for a relatively low costs
  • Routines: Lifelong routines and habits can be maintained
  • Financial Flexibility
  • Pets: your best friend can stay with you

Cons

  • Isolation: Seniors can have a tendency to become isolated living alone if mobility or activity is limited
  • Home Maintenance: As you age, a home can become overwhelming to maintain and costs may even become an issue
  • Safety: A home can be full of fall hazards and other potential safety problems. It is essential to do a home safety assessment for proper aging in place and make necessary changes to ensure the home is safe and the resources are available to stay safe. Other safety issues you may not have thought about include scams (living in a retirement community does not make you immune to them, but scammers often target elderly people living alone)
  • Cost: Depending on the level of care needed, the economies of scale in a group setting can make it more affordable. In comparing costs, the budget should include care costs, meals, household maintenance, utilities and other costs for both options

Retirement Village

Today, there is a much broader continuum of possibilities and options for seniors who want to live in a more communal setting. Today’s “retirement villages” offer co-housing for seniors who want to save on living expenses by living with smaller apartment homes and larger shared public spaces, or gradually increasing the level of assisted living help and medical care that is available onsite at the home. It’s possible to retire and move into a “retirement village” even when you’re completely healthy and active, and then gradually “age in place” and get the care you need at each stage of life for as long as you live. Here are a few pros and cons of living in a retirement village:

Pros

  • Save money on living expenses: Moving to a retirement village is one way to downsize by selling your larger house and moving to a smaller apartment with communal spaces to share with the neighbors
  • Save time on chores: Gardens are maintained by the complex and you have a smaller place to clean and maintain
  • Social Activities:  Retirement villages often have active social calendars with concerts, wine tastings, cultural offerings and other fun things to do with your fellow seniors
  • Housing Diversity: Villages comprise independent living options in a townhouse, villa or apartment, and (as needs increase) serviced apartments, care suites, rest homes, hospitals and dementia care units

Cons

  • Home Ownership Rather than buying the unit, a person is buying the right to occupy it and to use the facilities and services at the village
  • Can be more expensive: Almost all retirement villages have monthly charges to cover the running costs of the entire village. These will cover for instance, upkeep of facilities, staff, water rates from common areas, security, insurances including workers compensation and public liability, contents insurance for common areas as well as village building insurance
  • Less independence: Some people love the idea of communal living and socialising regularly with other people; others are more independently-minded and love the idea of waking up each day in their own home where they have peace and quiet and feel more in control of their schedule and activities
  • No Diversity: One of the unusual things about a retirement village is that everyone is a senior – there are no young families with children living there. If you live in a diverse generationally-mixed neighborhood, it might be hard to give that up to move to a retirement village
  • Doesn’t “feel” right: If you’re still feeling healthy and active, it might just not feel “right” to you to move to a retirement village. Before moving to a retirement village, ask yourself, “Does making this move feel like an opportunity to do more of what you want with your life, or does it feel like a defeat?”

Residential Aged Care

No one can deny that deciding whether to go into or put a loved one into residential aged care ( a nursing home) is one of the toughest decisions a person could make.  If you find yourself facing this choice, consider the following pros and cons of nursing homes:

Pros

  • Around the clock care: Nursing staff and a host of medical professionals including visits from Doctors whenever it is needed
  • High level care: For a person requires more care this puts fewer demands on family members who may not have the time or resources to care for their relative
  • Dieticians and Nutritionists: Proper nutrition for optimal health
  • Equipment: To move a patient and take care of their needs should they no longer be ambulatory
  • Facilities: Provide social activities and a sense of community to patients
  • Quality Care: Nursing homes are evaluated and these reports are available through Medicare, so you can make sure that your loved one is staying at a safe nursing home

Cons

  • Expensive: Many people simply cannot afford to pay for constant care
  • Quality of Care: Potential for low standards and sub-quality care
  • Proximity of partner/family:  You may have to travel lengthy distances to visit your loved one if there isn’t a nursing facility near your home
  • Loss of Independence: relaying on staff to undertake care, nutrition and activities
  • Isolation: Depending on an individual’s condition, a nursing home can increase a sense of isolation and loneliness, especially among patients with dementia

Have a staged retirement living plan

The positive side of retirement living is that there are many options. When you are planning make sure you consider how you will maintain a home, your mobility and personal care as you age. Maybe  initially you’ll downsize because the house it too large to maintain, then later when driving is no longer an option move to a village so you have closer access to amenities and social activities. The important thing is to have a plan with contingencies for any situation.

Start your retirement plan

Every person’s situation is unique and you will know what is right for you. The key is to think about your preferences, set a plan and share it with loved ones that might be in charge of your care later in life.

If you would like to attend a free workshop to help you understand the options that are available to support you to live independently in your own home and community register here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments