There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned pros and cons list to help you find clarity when making a big decision. And there aren’t too many decisions more significant than whether or not to move from your family home into a retirement village.
But we’ve done the hard work for you by compiling the potential advantages and possible disadvantages of both staying in your home as you age or enjoying retirement living. It will help clarify your thinking before you visit a village and assist you in preparing a list of questions for our team so you can feel reassured about your choice.
Staying in your home: the disadvantages
- Your house might not be practically suited to your needs as you grow older. Old rugs present trip hazards, for example, and staircases become harder to navigate.
- Maintenance and upkeep can become a burden. A large home, especially one with a garden, demands a lot of physical attention – attention you might no longer be capable of giving.
- You might become more socially isolated if family visits are not regular and neighbours have moved on. Loneliness can lead to a decline in both physical and mental wellbeing.
- You might feel less inclined to cook and find your diet deteriorating.
- Whether it’s because of mortgage repayments or the cost of maintaining the building and garden, owning a home can be expensive.
Staying in your home: the advantages
- Familiar and comfortable, staying put means you don’t have to go through the process of adapting to a new place, both physically and emotionally. You already have a feeling of belonging and stability.
- Leaving your own home can cause feelings of intense grief and upheaval. You might decide that’s not something you wish to grapple with.
- You’re already connected to a community – the people at the local shop know you, your neighbours keep an eye out and chatting with the barista is an important part of your day.
- Your home might be geographically convenient, allowing you to easily visit or accept visits from friends and family.
Retirement living: the disadvantages
- Moving requires, well, moving! It can be an overwhelming process. If it’s been some years since you moved, you might need additional support from family or friends.
- If you move a long way from your old neighbourhood, you can feel disconnected from friends, family and neighbours and it might take time to establish new connections.
- It could be challenging to develop a feeling of belonging after living in your place for so long.
- The cost – you need to weigh the benefits against the cost of the entry, ongoing, and exit fees.
Retirement living: the advantages
- You can maintain your independence as you get older.
- Buildings and grounds are purpose-built to suit the needs of older Australians, with homes designed to make life safe and easy.
- You have many opportunities to connect with others and nurture new social networks with residents your age. Have a read of our article on developing new social connections and why finding your community at any age is so important.
- Retirement villages offer abundant recreational activities, from sport and fitness to creative pursuits, gardening and outings.
- Moving to a retirement village can be more cost effective than staying in your family home.
- Retirement villages nurture a healthy lifestyle and many offer professional support for your health needs.
- A sense of purpose is crucial to your wellbeing as you age. Retirement villages can help you cultivate and maintain through activities, social connections, or charitable work.
- You won’t need to worry about upkeep and maintenance on your garden and property.
- You can choose an apartment with services if you need extra help with meals and domestic chores.
The decision to downsize from your home into retirement living is a personal one that will depend entirely on your circumstances. Having a clear list of the pros and cons associated with both can be a helpful way to kick off the decision-making process. If you’re leaning towards retirement living but still have questions, read our helpful article, ‘Is retirement living right for you?’
Our last top tip? Explore some retirement villages you can see yourself living in to get an inside glimpse into what living there would look and feel like. Use our helpful list as a guide to questions to ask on the day.