Approaching retirement age can be a source of anxiety and stress due to the many impactful biological and external changes that can be daunting to navigate and transition through to live a wholesome life. This is more so when living independently without the emotional support of family and loved ones.
This paradigm shift from being a self-reliant working professional to retiring from active work life and age-related issues is a major cause for worry. The good news is that now you can choose between spending your retirement alone in your house or retirement in an independent living facility like a retirement village where you will not be alone and will be well looked after by the community.
Living in a retirement village is a better and more sensible decision if you wish to live a worry-free life amidst a community of peers. Retirement villages offer multiple options to choose from in terms of the set-up and living quarters in the town. Among these is the choice to live in independent living units, similar to living in your home but without the usual daily responsibilities. It is therefore important to explore all your options to find the right retirement property for independent living, with the help of the following guiding factors:
Key factors for finding the best retirement property for independent living
- Affordability: Saving up for your retirement years is important, and you should ideally begin planning and saving at least 10 years before your retirement. Once you determine your budget, looking for retirement properties that align with it will be easier. Ensure you understand the shortlisted retirement villages’ exact cost structure and requirements.
- Location: Look for retirement properties by considering your personal choice regarding the environment (urban, rural, or suburban setting), its proximity to healthcare facilities, being easily accessible by your family and friends, shopping centres, transport facilities, and recreational activities.
- Healthcare: The independent living unit you are looking for should have well-placed and robust healthcare facilities like an on-call doctor, medical care in emergencies, assisted living and memory care, connectivity with hospitals, and a well-trained team of carers. It is always better to remember that there can be health-related issues with age progression, and you may need specific care in the future based on your existing health issues.
- Basic amenities: Choosing a retirement or independent living does not mean foregoing your lifestyle choices and amenities you enjoy and would like to continue enjoying. So make sure the retirement village offers basic amenities like swimming pools, outdoor sports facilities like access to a golf course, walking trails, cycling, a library, common recreational rooms with indoor activities, etc.
- Social atmosphere: The main reason for choosing to live in a retirement village is not to spend your retirement alone, so the retirement properties you are considering should have a healthy social atmosphere where they encourage and support community living. Recreational and social activities are a huge part of a healthy and happy atmosphere. Check out the list of activities organised by the village, like book clubs, supervised excursion trips, arts and crafts, fitness programmes, and so on. You want to stay at a place where the activities match your interests.
- Security: A safe and secure environment is of paramount importance. Ensure the property has a well-organised security protocol with gated and manned entries, surveillance of the grounds, well-lit walkways and common areas, and response systems in emergencies.
- Pets and visitors: Check the retirement community’s policies regarding visitors and pets. If you have a pet or want one in the future, you would like it to stay with you, which is why the community should be pet-friendly. Know the rules and regulations concerning visitors and whether your loved ones can come and wait a few days with you in your independent living unit.
- Consult with professionals: Consult with financial and legal professionals to understand the financial and legal aspects and requirements of moving into a retirement village, such as estate planning, the resale value of the property, fees, and contracts.
Make sure to visit as many retirement properties as possible, preferably accompanied by trusted family or friends, for comparison. Do diligent research by reading reviews, talking with residents, and taking extensive tours of the properties before making your final decision.