Retirement Villages, what to know and what to expect.
Making the decision to enter a retirement village is a significant life decision and the options can be overwhelming, which is why you need to do your research and get the right advice.
Once you start your search for a village, you will soon find out that villages vary greatly not just in the services that they offer, but also in the various fees that they charge.
It’s all about working out what’s best for your specific circumstances, your needs and your lifestyle.
Once you make an inquiry about premises within a village, you should receive a General Inquiry Document, a Disclosure Statement and a Contract.
These are the key documents, which will enable you to make an informed decision about your purchase or lease of the premises.
Village Services and Amenities
When considering a specific premises, it is important to know exactly what amenities and services are offered by the village and make a decision as to whether those amenities and services are right for you.
To assist, you should ask yourself the following questions when considering the Disclosure documents and Contract:
Carefully consider the layout of the premises – How many bedrooms does it have? Is it wheelchair friendly? Does it have stairs which may become difficult to manage further down the track?
Do you require assistance with cleaning and are these services offered within the village?
Do you have a car and if so, does the premises include off street parking, a carport or garage?
What about pets – do you have any and if so, will the village allow your pets to move in too?
What about guests – does the village impose particular restrictions on how long they can stay?
What other amenities would you like to have within the village? Does the village have swimming pools, activities rooms, communal eating areas and restaurants?
Are you interested in organised activities or daytrips and does the village offer these services?
When considering the answers to the above questions, it is also important to consider your future needs.
It is important that you understand the kind of financial commitment which you are making by entering into a retirement village.
Once you have carefully read and considered the Disclosure documents and Contracts and obtained the necessary advices, you should be aware of the following:
The entry fee or purchase price for the premises – this is usually a fixed figure and easily identified within the Contract and Disclosure Statement;
Recurrent or ongoing fees – these fees are generally contributions toward the costs of running the village and the maintenance of village facilities – it is important that you know how much your recurrent charges will be and exactly what it is that they cover;
Optional services – these fees are generally charged for services not covered by the recurrent charges – it is important that you understand what optional services that the village provides and how much these services will cost;
Exit, departure or termination fees – these are fees which apply should you pass away or otherwise cease living in the village – it is important that you know how these fees are calculated, as they will be important if you later move to an Aged Care Facility, and will certainly have implications for your estate planning; and
Capital gains or losses – it is important that you understand whether you will receive a share of any applicable capital gain and whether you will be responsible for a share of any applicable capital loss and how such gains/losses are calculated.
Serviced apartments can provide you with a more affordable way to live and, in certain circumstances, the services and accommodation may be GST free.
Serviced apartments are suitable for older people who wish to live in a supported environment where services such as laundry, linen, meals and cleaning are provided on a fee-for-service basis. The form that a resident’s right to occupy a serviced apartment typically takes is a loan / licence agreement, which is similar to a loan / lease agreement.
A key benefit is that you can remain living in your serviced apartment even if your care needs increase, in the comfort of safe, secure and familiar surroundings.
Some extra care services may be provided at an additional cost. These may include services such as assistance with showering and personal grooming. It is important that you check with the respective village what services are included when considering moving to a serviced apartment.
Home Care Packages
As we get older, the familiar and comforting surroundings of a home environment and a friendly local community become more important.
In your own villa or apartment you feel safe, secure and content. But for many elderly people, the daily challenges of looking after themselves can become too much. Home Care Packages help clients to live a dignified and rewarding life by providing the quality care and professional services they need to enable them to remain in their retirement villa or apartment for longer.
Four different packages of care are available catering for the varying needs of residents who would otherwise be eligible for low, high and dementia residential care, but choose to live in their retirement villa or apartment.
As the cost associated with delivery of Community Care Packages is subsidised by the Commonwealth Government, residents must be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as requiring the necessary level care. The ACAT assessments are free of charge – find an ACAT near you at the My Aged Care website.
The Aged Care Assessment Team will determine which type of Home Care Package best suits residents’ needs:
- Level 1: supporting people with basic care needs
- Level 2: supporting people with low-level care needs (equivalent to the former Community Aged Care Package)
- Level 3: supporting people with intermediate care needs
- Level 4: supporting people with high-level care needs (equivalent to the former Extended Aged Care at Home and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia Packages)
Supplements are available to complement the four packages listed above for people with very specific needs.
Home Care Packages were introduced in 2013 to replace Community Care Packages. All information about Home Care Packages can be found at the My Aged Care website.
Residential Aged Care
Some retirement villages offer on-site residential aged care or are located in close proximity offering residents a continuum of care in a familiar environment.
As the Commonwealth Government subsidises much of the cost associated with the provision of residential care, regional Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) determine eligibility for admission. An ACAT assessment can be arranged through your own doctor, community health centre or hospital. Information about how to arrange an assessment and all information about residential aged care can be found at the My Aged Care website.
For those who enjoy leading their own life, but require access to care and assistance when needed, low care accommodation provides a balance of independence and support.
Residential low care, sometimes referred to as hostel accommodation, is for elderly people requiring some assistance with the demands of daily living, but who do not have complex ongoing care needs. Accommodation in a low care residential facility typically requires the payment of a residential bond and a weekly service fee. The bond is refunded, less a small percentage, at the time of discharge. The bond amount and service fee is subject to income and asset testing. The amount varies amongst providers and is subject to determination by Commonwealth Government legislation.
Typically, residential low care includes resident’s accommodation requirements and related services. These comprise of provision of a bedroom, bathroom and access to shared facilities such as lounges, dining rooms and other shared spaces. Bedrooms and communal spaces are fully furnished, bedding is supplied, clothing washed and dried, cleaning services and all meals provided. All maintenance of buildings and gardens is taken care of and qualified staff are on call to provide emergency assistance as may be required. Recreation activities are also offered, including regular outings and trips to local shopping centres.
Residential high care is for elderly people requiring assistance with the demands of daily living and who have ongoing care needs.
Accommodation in a high care residential facility, sometimes referred to as a nursing home, typically requires the payment of a weekly service fee and, in certain cases, an accommodation charge. These amounts vary amongst providers, are subject of income and asset testing and are subject to determination by Commonwealth Government legislation.
Like residents in low care accommodation, high care residents enjoy a bedroom, bathroom and access to shared facilities such as lounges, dining rooms and other shared spaces. Bedrooms and communal spaces are fully furnished, bedding is supplied, clothing washed and dried, with cleaning services and all meals provided. All maintenance of buildings and gardens is taken care of and there is recreation activities offered.
Additionally, the range of personal care services available is greatly enhanced and is provided depending on the needs of each individual resident.
Many residential high care facilities include a separate and secure dementia wing, where specially trained staff support and care for those suffering the effects of memory loss.