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Positive ageing at core of new age retirement villages

More than 180,000 Australians are enjoying resort-style living in retirement villages around the country.

The decision to move into a retirement village can be daunting, but it’s a move that more than 180,000 Australians have already made, and an environment they’re thriving in.

In fact, an increasing number of seniors are opting to move into retirement villages due to the world-class facilities on offer, which ensures their golden years are just that – golden.

The days of retirement homes feeling institutional have long gone, replaced with architecturally stunning properties offering health and wellness programmes, group exercise, on-site care and meals created by nutritionists. And the rise in popularity comes as retirement villages are finally being acknowledged as environments that promote healthy communities. After all, staying healthy in retirement isn’t just about eating well and staying fit, but about social interaction.

Leading retirement village providers Aveo – who have 93 communities with 13,000 residents Australia wide – are innovative in their approach to providing a range of services, with the main focus always being on the overall care and wellbeing of residents.

At some communities they offer tailor-made Health and Wellness Programmes, with residents being assigned their very own personal nurse and a range of services, including physiotherapy, rehab exercise and podiatry.

There’s also regular group exercise classes, with on-site gyms and swimming pools offering Tai Chi and water aerobics, to name a few.

And with a focus on wellness comes the redefinition of meal time, with on-site restaurants and cafes offering a resort-like dining experience, where the attention is on both the food and it being a social event.

Meals are also tried and tested by nutritionists to ensure they hits the nutritional requirements needed for the over 65s, while also being delicious and varied.

But most importantly there’s a social connection through the rich community available at villages, which allows residents to combat loneliness, one of the biggest problems affecting the over 65s.

A 2016 study by the University of California in San Francisco worryingly found that 43 percent of seniors felt lonely on a regular basis. And for those who didn’t or couldn’t seek out companionship, it meant they were 45 percent more likely to reach an earlier death.

That’s why Aveo’s retirement villages offer residents a range of communal areas, with sprawling grounds open to aspiring gardeners, BBQ areas, and libraries, games room and even a woodshed.

And there’s a packed social calendar for residents to choose from: lawn bowls in the morning, meditation after lunch, cheese and wine in the afternoon sun, or reading a book alone in the garden.

Strategic Operations Manager of Retirement Living for Aveo, James Wiltshire, said: “It’s about having a range of activities to pick and choose from, even if you don’t fancy doing anything.”

It’s perhaps unsurprising that a huge amount of those who finally enter a retirement village wish they had done so earlier and regret stalling over a misconception that it’s going to be too costly or a fear of losing their independence.

Interestingly, a study released in September 2017 by University of Technology Sydney found that retirement village living was actually cheaper than home ownership due to the lifestyle services on offer.

Executive Director Retirement Living at the Property Council of Australia, Ben Myers, also added, “If you live outside a retirement village and you access facilities and services like swimming pools, gymnasiums, libraries, GP clinics and social activities, this report shows you’re going to probably end up paying more than it costs to live in a retirement village.”

Report author Lois Towart said, “This comparison was based on the financial and lifestyle components of retirement village living including entry price, ongoing costs, facilities and services, exit price and intangible factors.”

Original story was published on News.com.au

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