Types of Residences

Modern retirement living communities try to offer a mix of accommodation styles and care options, which allows the owner to manage residents within the complex as their needs increase. For example, a resident may initially move into an independent living villa or townhouse within the community. As their independence and mobility decreases, they have the option to move into a smaller, more easily maintained apartment also within the community. This is a great option for residents as they are able to increase their levels of care without leaving the community and their friends.

Villas & Apartments
Villas and larger style apartments are popular with mobile, independent retirees. These units are designed for fully independent living and can range from the basic through to luxury living. In this way, they are not dissimilar to standard residential housing, although the purpose-built residences feature special retirement living fittings such as enhanced security, emergency call buttons for medical assistance, wider doorways and larger shower cubicles.

Residents of these living units also have access to all of the community facilities within the complex. The Independent Living Units are typically un-serviced, however residents may wish to purchase additional services such as cleaning for a fee.

Villas and Apartments (Independent Living Units, or in industry-speak, “ILU’s”) are most popular with residents in good health, aged 65 years of age and older, with the majority of individuals aged between 71 and 85 years of age when they first purchase a retirement residence (source: DTZ). These individuals are mobile and do not require assistance with daily living tasks. The ILU’s are typically sold to residents under a Freehold or a DMF style structure.

Serviced Apartments
Serviced Apartments are smaller than the Independent Living Units and offer an enhanced level of care. The resident will pay a higher weekly fee and receive services such as cleaning, meals and laundry.

Serviced Apartments are designed to provide a level of personal care within a residential environment to individuals who can no longer cope with some daily tasks on their own. Typically, these residents require assistance in one or more activities of daily living including housework, shopping, preparation of meals and in some cases personal care. These residents are in the middle continuum of care, between independent living and a rest home, and are typically aged 75 years and over.

Serviced Apartments allow residents of the Independent Living Units to relocate within the complex to an increased level of care as their mobility and independence decreases.

Studio Apartments and Hospital Beds (High Care facilities)
Studio Apartments are similar to a private hospital room and are popular with residents requiring close medical supervision. They are generally located in a “hospital wing” and can offer 24 hour medical care.

Potential residents for ILU’s often seek higher-care options within a complex to avoid having to relocate to another facility in the future, as their mobility and independence decreases. Residents take comfort from the close proximity of higher-care facilities. These facilities are most popular with residents aged 85 years and over.

Sometimes couples that live in the community (ILU’s or Assisted Living) will have a sick spouse requiring a higher level of care. A community that offers a range of living options across the care continuum allows couples to stay together as long as possible.

The higher-care facilities are usually designed in such a way to be private and discrete from the Independent Living areas.

Studio Apartments can be offered to residents through a Rental or DMF structure. Residents pay a weekly fee to stay in their bed, which covers all of their occupancy costs and 24 hr nursing supervision. The resident pays any additional medical services required and staff assists with the planning and organisation of these visits.

In Australia, the federal government subsidises the weekly fee, providing the resident is eligible under a means test.