Around 32,000 New Zealanders live in a retirement village, and as our population ages, this number is set to increase. And for good reason, as a report by the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, found that retirement villages can positively influence a resident's wellbeing.
But before you dive in, here are five important questions to ask the retirement village before signing up:
1. How much will it cost?
"Generally future residents will want to know the price of the apartment, the amenity and weekly fee cost and what is included within the fees, such as rates, water, power, maintenance," says Peter Fields, Village Manager at Bupa Northhaven Retirement Village, in Whangaparaoa.
When choosing to live in a retirement village, you may be required to pay any or all of the following: an initial entry price, ongoing regular charges and other expenses.
2. What type of accommodation is available?
According to the New Zealand Retirement Village Association (NZRVA), accommodation in a retirement village can range from a one or more bedrooms apartment to a semidetached or completely standalone unit or villa. It just depends on the type of retirement village you are looking at.
Which type of accommodation you choose is really down to what you need. Units, villas, or apartments are designed for active people who choose to live independently within the village environment. Serviced apartments provide accommodation for residents who require some assistance with daily living but who still want to retain a certain degree of independence.
3. What types of activities take place here?
Every retirement village is different. Some offer facilities such as communal rooms, dining rooms, swimming pools, bowling greens and rehabilitation areas and onsite wellness clinics. Others are simply a group of houses providing accommodation.
Apart from management services, some villages also provide additional services such as arranged activities and excursions. When researching retirement villages it’s important to understand everything that is on offer and ask to see all the facilities and any activity program they may have in place.
4. Will they help me clean my new digs?
Some villages also offer services such as meals, cleaning, laundry and personal care such as assistance with dressing or bathing. It’s important to inquire which services the retirement village you are looking at offers and if there is an additional fee for such services.
5. Do I have to be retired in order to live in a retirement village?
Just because it is called a retirement village doesn’t mean you have to be retired. The NZRVA says that you can continue work while living in a retirement village. If, however, you intend to work from home you should make sure the village rules allow this and ask the manager what the village policy is.
"The needs for each will vary and it is often the Village Manager who may be the final decider for the intending resident," says Fields. "It is very important for them that they know that the Manager is a caring person whom they can trust and work with."