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The evolution of retirement villages

It isn’t all about staying fit and eating well, staying healthy in retirement is also largely down to staying socially active and learning new skills to keep the mind ticking. 

And retirement villages are now offering tailor-made resort-like living for seniors, with modern properties offering world-class facilities with a focus firmly on wellness, and a bursting social calendar of BBQs, wine nights and afternoon lawn bowls.

So, how have retirement villages evolved for the better? Take a look at the modern offerings for our active seniors.

Architecturally stunning properties

In July this year, retirement village provider Aveo opened a much anticipated expansion of The Clayfield retirement village at Albion, close to Brisbane’s CBD.

It was much anticipated because it not only cost $25million but its superior design highlighted how retirement homes have changed.

The five-storey property features 65 two-bedroom Private Aged Care Apartments, which boasts to having both a premium look and high-end fixtures and fittings. There’s large light switches, DDA compliant bathrooms and zero-step thresholds.

Strategic Operations Manager of Retirement Living for Aveo, James Wiltshire, said: “The finish and fixtures found in retirement villages have had to change with the times. Much like the residential market, retirement villages have had to meet a higher expectation for design and interiors.

“The market has a higher expectation of what a bathroom looks like for them, what a kitchen should look like, and what carpet they want. And we’re doing a pretty good job at ensuring they are getting exactly what they want. And The Clayfield’s brand new apartments are a prime example of that.”

These world-class properties boast to having cultivated gardens, fitness centres, hair salons and a range of restaurants and cafes.

Focus on positive ageing

Retirement villages in Australia are world leading in their unique focus on promoting positive ageing with healthy lifestyle and social interaction.

Aveo’s retirement villages offer a range of services depending on the individual, including wellness coaches, regular checks up with nurses and visiting GP’s group fitness classes and the opportunity to learn a new hobby.

But it isn’t just jumping from one sport to a doctor’s appointment; it’s the social interaction that comes with these facilities that are a huge benefit in positive ageing.

For many, growing old comes with a feeling of loneliness and a loss of independence, and battling these two issues are at the core of Aveo retirement villages across the country.

“The focus on health and wellbeing is definitely down to how we’ve changed as a society,” adds James. “We are about prevention, rather than reaction, and that isn’t just about day-to-day ailments but about the ageing process. We are more aware of the role diet, exercise and mental health plays and it sets the tone of what we have to meet with our residents.

“And it isn’t just them, but also their families who want to know they are moving into communities with access to all of these things.”

A range of services

Being treated as an individual is the greatest quality of care a residential village can offer, with the focus being on a range of varied services.

Within Aveo’s 93 Retirement and Aged Care communities found around Australia, each village is different, even offering pet-friendly residential properties.

Aveo offers two types of aged care: residential aged care for those who need 24/7 support, or Freedom Aged Care, a genuine alternative to traditional aged care. Here, they can live with their partners, bring their pets and have family and friends stay over, all while receiving personal care and support in a community.

James from Aveo highlights that residents in modern retirement villages require a multi-faceted offering of services, from on-site nurses to beauticians.

He explains, “In the past, there’s been a visiting doctor and that’s about it. But now it’s beyond that, with places having physiotherapy, podiatrists, and manicurists. And residents really like the fact that it’s not just at their doorstep, it’s essentially in their home.”

The social calendar

Staying socially active is at the core of the retirement village life, offering residents the option to pick and choose activities from jam-packed social calendar.

There’s group exercise, including Tai Chi and water aerobics, available, and lawn bowls, BBQs on the grounds and the social event of dining in the many restaurants and cafes.

“The social engagement can’t be underestimated in its importance in the process. More and more, we are hearing about the topic on dementia and it’s showing that social isolation causes depression,” James says.

“So, the whole point of engaging people and minimising social isolation is a non-negotiable in this space.”

And residential villages like Aveo also promote family integration, with Seniors Weeks, an event which sees loved ones invited for garden parties, live music events and arts and crafts with grandchildren.

James adds, “The community should always be at the core of what a retirement village is offering.”

Original story was published on

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