Retirement living offers a way to reduce stress and enjoy the era after you’ve finished your professional life. If you can kick off that period of enjoyment sooner rather than later, why wouldn’t you?
What's the perfect age to move?
You’re eligible to move into most retirement living communities at 55, although the average age of entry to a retirement village in Australia is 74.
Moving to retirement living is a deeply personal decision and choosing the right time to do so is entirely dependent on your specific needs and circumstances.
However, experience with thousands of residents over the years has shown us that making the move earlier means you have more time to enjoy all the benefits of retirement living. We often hear residents say that they wish they’d moved to Aveo earlier.
Heather and Dennis didn’t wait too long to make the move. They followed their friend’s advice and now enjoy all their village offers. “You’ll want to make the move sooner so that you can go as a couple, build your friendships and be supported for anything that comes later,” said Heather.
“I would have said to young Dennis, ‘Do it sooner, because you don’t want to spend your retirement climbing ladders to clean out downpipes and guttering or mowing the lawns.’ The neighbourhood was changing, houses were sold around us. We didn’t know the people anymore and they weren’t waving, like they do here."
Your retirement mindset
A retirement village is entirely different to aged care. Instead of closing your world down as many misunderstand, retirement living opens you up to new opportunities to make your life more dynamic, social and active. A positive approach to ageing can have a measurable impact on health and wellbeing. Seeing your move to retirement living as part of that positive approach can set you up for a successful retirement.
Sue and her husband recently moved to Aveo, where she said her village suits their lifestyle. “We looked at four different units or apartments and the fourth one was home. We have bought lots of houses in our time and knew right away that this was it. I’m the same with people. I get a vibe right away and know if I will like them. It was a no brainer for me.”
“I wished we’d moved earlier, but I had this misconception about retirement living. We moved due to my husband’s health and to be closer to our daughter. It was my daughter that said to go and have a look at Aveo and I fell in love with the place.”
There’s no question that moving from your own home is a big deal and it can take some time to get your head around the idea. However, if you can start the thought process before you’re well into retirement, you can make the most of your retirement living options.
The advantages of making the move to retirement living earlier
1. You can be a social butterfly
You can be whatever kind of social creature you like, but the point is that a retirement village encourages and nurtures social connection. Not only that, but it also nurtures those connections among like-minded people in your age group. This means you can share experiences, advice, jokes, recipes, humour, history, opinions and dilemmas with people who understand where you’re coming from.
“Our friends here would say I have to be busy. I do art; I paint in my garage; I play bowls with the boys and visit with friends and relatives. For Heather, they’d say she likes to have a chat,” joked Dennis.
Growing older in your own home can get lonely if you’re dependent on visits from family, despite best intentions. In a retirement village, you don’t have to wait for someone to come to you. There’s a whole world of social connection literally on your doorstep.
2. You've got plenty of time to improve your bowls/breaststroke/balance
Making the move to retirement living at a time when you can still be active means you can take full advantage of all the recreational opportunities on offer. Whether it’s croquet or lawn bowls, swimming or aqua aerobics, pilates or dance, this is a time to enjoy your physical health or even improve it.
Pam enjoys an active and social lifestyle in her community, “I’ve got the pool for water aerobics. Don’t be too scared to move into a retirement village, because it’s wonderful.”
Her neighbour Wendy agrees, “We have a lot of activities here, but I like to do outside things as well. I love to play golf.”
3. There's still much to discover
If sports are not your cup of tea, retirement villages offer a vast array of other hobbies and activities to pique your interest. Maybe now is the time to finally explore that artistic yearning you’ve always had or perhaps become involved in charitable volunteer work to give you further purpose and satisfaction. Movie dates or wine tasting, gallery visits or lectures – these are all things that retirement living can give you both the time and the opportunity to enjoy. Why not start enjoying them sooner rather than later?
Sue’s advice to her younger self would be, “Move in sooner. The village life gives you the opportunity to do the things you didn’t have time to do when you were working full time.”
“I like to get involved in things like art classes, people playing music or happy hour. The whole village comes to happy hour here!” said Sue.
There’s no doubt it can be hard to imagine saying goodbye to your old home, but if it’s holding you back from embracing the joy and satisfaction you could be finding in your retirement years, then a move is worth considering.
Kay often spent her younger years caught up worrying about her kids and what was on at work. Now, as resident at Aveo, she has more time and more things to smile about.
“It can’t all be just work, children, mortgages. You have to be able to have some sort of enjoyment in your life. Look for the community that’s right for you and move into it.”