Can you be too OLD to live in a retirement village?

Many people think that retirement village are full of old people, but is it possible to be too old to live in a retirement village?

Retirement villages are communities of independent living units targeted to retirees who are still able to live independently. That is, without the need for any external support. Retirement villages will typically have a MINIMUM age limit on potential residents, but not a maximum age limit. In theory, this means that someone of the age of, say, 95 could live in a retirement village.

But what really happens in practice?

Retirement village operators dont want a community full of old people who need nursing this is what aged care facilities are designed for. Retirement villages are aimed at younger retirees, with most residents moving in around their early 70s. The average age of retirement village residents is late 70s. Too many old people will put off this younger crowd!

Therefore older, less mobile retirees may be rejected by the retirement village. This may seem somewhat incongruous, given that the retirement village business model needs people to actually move out in order to receive any income, and older residents are much more likely to move out before younger residents. However, the reality is that retirement village residents needing care typically stay put in their residence and bring in the required services from outside of the village. They do this because care funding in Australia is designed to keep people in their homes for longer. It is also because many residents cant afford an aged care facility after they sell their retirement village unit and all of the operators fees and charges have been taken from the sale proceeds. You can read more about this conundrum HERE.

Many people seem to think that it is part of the service for a retirement village operator to find or provide support for residents needing care, however this is NOT the case! Retirement village operators would prefer to see older people needing care leave the village and move into an proper aged care facility. It is the responsibility of the resident and their family to arrange support. Having said that, it is a bit of a gray area because the retirement village operator has a duty of care to residents. Most operators simply find it easier to avoid the situation by rejecting older residents likely to need care services immediately or in the short term.

I would suggest that if you need care now, or are likely to need care in the short term, then an independent living retirement village is probably not the right place for you. Instead, check out facilities offering supported living, where you can live independently but have the option to bring in care as you need it.

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