Considerations for different retirement living options

 

Whether downsizing your home, relocating to a new city, modifying your existing property, or entering an independent or assisted living arrangement is on the cards, thinking ahead could create more certainty.

 

 
When thinking about your retirement, financial and non-financial considerations will all play a part.
 
Downsizing your home, relocating or both
 
For many Aussies, retirement may be an ideal time to downsize, possibly relocate somewhere new, or both, while freeing up a bit of extra money. Either way, there will be a variety of things to consider including:
 
  • Whether the money from your potential property sale could affect the results of income and asset tests for any Age Pension entitlements you may be eligible for.
  • If you’re 65 or over and eligible, whether you may want to make a downsizer contribution into super. This is where older Aussies can put up to $300,000 into their super (or $600,000 per couple) using money from the sale of their main residence, noting various rules apply.
There are also a lot of non-financial considerations, if you are thinking about moving to an area that you’re not familiar with. It might be worth trialling where you’re thinking about moving to, by visiting the neighbourhood a few times, or even taking a short break and renting there for a while.
 
Making modifications to your existing property
 
Rather than moving, you may be thinking about making modifications to your existing home to make it more accessible for what you might need in your future years.
 
For instance, you may be considering installing handrails and ramps, widening doorways, installing emergency alarms, monitoring systems or even adding sensor lights.
 
This could also delay the potential need to move into an assisted living facility down the track, and the good news is, if this is something you’d like to do, there may be government subsidiesi to help you cover the costs.
 
If you’re looking for more information on subsidies for modifying your home, you can either check out the government’s My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422.
 
Moving into a retirement village
 
If you’re looking to downsize or reduce your responsibilities (your home might be getting too big to manage), you may be considering moving into a retirement village, which is a residential community designed for older people who are generally able to care for themselves.
 
Retirement villages have different living options and offer a range of leisure, social and support services, depending on whether you’re choosing an independent living centre or an assisted living arrangement.
 
Independent living centres typically have minimal assistance in day-to-day living but plenty of medical and recreational facilities, such as community halls, bowling greens, libraries and pools.
 
Assisted living centres generally offer more support with house responsibilities and maintenance, such as housekeeping, cleaning or preparing meals.
 
Payment models for retirement villages
 
There are many different payment models when it comes to retirement villages, depending on whether it’s an independent living or assisted living centre.
 
However, some typical costs you may come across include an entry contribution, an exit fee and ongoing charges to cover things like maintenance and general services provided by the village.
 
How different villages charge can vary significantly, and some residents may be subject to different payment models or special levies, which could also change over time. This is why it’s important to read the fine print and consider speaking to a legal professional before signing anything.
 
Living in an aged care home
 
By considering your options in aged care earlier rather than later, you may be able to provide yourself, or a loved one, with greater flexibility and freedom down the track.
 
The other thing worth noting is that moving into an aged care facility might not be the only option, with the government providing various services that could help you to stay at home for longer.
 
Help at home
 
If you’re generally able to manage, but require assistance with daily tasks, like shopping, cooking, home maintenance, personal care, travel and social activities, there are various home-care services that could support you, so you may continue to live independently in your own home.
 
Short-term care
 
Short-term care services provide support for a set period of time. There are three types of short-term care available: short term restorative care, transition care and respite care.
 
Aged care homes
 
An aged care facility (or nursing home) is typically where you live in a full-service residence and receive ongoing care and support while you live there.
 
These aren’t the same as retirement villages or other independent living centres, which provide facilities but not necessarily the same level of support and care that you may need later in life. If you think this is the best option for you or your loved one, it’s a good idea to research and visit several residences to find the right fit.
 
Eligibility for different services
 
To be eligible for various government aged care services, you have to meet certain criteria and pass an assessment process. This can be organised through the government’s My Aged Care website or by calling 1800 200 422.
 
Also keep in mind that the costs of different aged care services vary and will depend on the care you’re eligible for, the provider you choose and your financial situation.
 
We can help you explore some of the things you may want to think about, whether you’re deciding for yourself or helping a loved one weigh up the options.
 
 
 
i My Aged Care - Commonwealth Home Support Programme
 
©AWM Services Pty Ltd. First published June 2021
 

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