The Trusted Resource for Retirement Living

Exploring your Housing Options

You have a variety of housing options, from independent living either at home or somewhere else, to moving into one of several types of communities. Your best choice hinges on doing your homework first, by exploring how you feel about where you live now, including how well it meets your projected needs for the future.

We suggest finding your own answers to the following six questions first, and if you have a partner, make sure you know their answers as well:

  1. What do you like about your current living situation?
  2. What is it that you don’t like about your current situation?
  3. Which regular activities are you finding more difficult to complete in your current home?
  4. What do you think your future physical/emotional/health needs will be?
  5. What is your current and future financial situation?
  6. Can you sustain your current lifestyle, given your answers to the above?
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Take your answers, mix them with consultations with family and professionals such as a seniors housing advisers, and financial advisers, and you will have the information you need do a thorough evaluation of all of the options for where and how you want to live in the future.

Let’s look briefly at the possible choices:

Ageing in Place.

Ageing in Place is a term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services or other support you might need over time as your needs change while maintaining, and / or improving quality of life. It is possible that making modifications to your home and getting ongoing help with maintenance are all that is needed to help you stay in your home.


Although some seniors are choosing to “upsize,” research shows that most seniors who move are choosing to downsize or some might say rightsize. They are moving into smaller, more manageable homes, which usually require less maintenance and have more security. There are numerous options to downsize, the most popular being retirement village living. As you look into the options, evaluate them based on your wants, needs, and financial capacity.

Some of the questions you will ask include:

  • Can you stay there as long as you need?
  • What services are available for now and as your needs change?
  • Can you make alterations to the property?
  • Will you have both the privacy and the company you want?
  • How secure is the home/village?
  • Is there access to transportation and other services?
  • How will you spend your time if you live there?
  • Do you like the home?

  • Seniors who downsize increasingly choose community living (retirement villages and senior living communities).

    Some of the reasons for this choice, as cited in recent research include:

  • Ability to remain independent in a secure environment
  • Access to socialization opportunities
  • Freedom from the need to maintain the home and gardens
  • Access to services as your needs grow.

  • Community Living

    Choices for Seniors who want to live in a community setting are expanding. Traditionally, they are categorised by the level of care available to residents, as in the case of retirement villages, supported living communities, and aged care facilities. Additional options are becoming more available and are also touched on here: manufactured home villages and co-housing communities.

    The following is a brief summary of the options for community living:

    Retirement Villages

    Retirement villages offer increased security and maintenance services, and more. Like all options, there are financial considerations, including the costs of purchase or lease, ongoing fees, and potential moving fees if you leave.Most units are attractive independent living units with full kitchens, etc., and with security, proximity to peers, and socialization activities. Many offer a range of personal services which residents can use as their physical needs change, and all offer an emergency button inside the unit which will access 24 hour emergency services. Some villages even have residential aged care on the premises.

    Residential Aged Care Facilities

    Aged, and frail seniors may need to consider residential aged care homes if they need more help with day-to-day tasks or health care. Many facilities offer different levels of care on their premises. A move into a residential aged care home requires assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). If you or a loved one needs more personal assistance with daily self-care, talk with ACAT about your options. If you do choose this option, the Aged Care Assessment Team will help guide you to an appropriate facility , and assist in organising more services in the meantime if a suitable aged care facility is not immediately available.

    Supported living Communities

    Supported Living Communities combine the best advantages of retirement villages and aged care homes to provide a new and welcomed choice for seniors. They are, in a way, retirement villages where residents have access to various levels of personal and nursing care that is provided in the privacy of their own home – a choice not available in aged care homes. This relatively new option is a breath of fresh air, particularly for those senior couples who have had to face the anguish of separation if one partner needs a great deal more care.

    Additional Options for Community Living

    Manufactured Home Villages

    In manufactured home villages or estates, residents are permanent, or parks that comprise both permanent residents and tourist sites for holiday makers. Permanent residents own their homes and enter into a leasehold agreement with the village management to lease the land that the home occupies. Site rental fees vary from village to village, but include use of common amenities, and facilities, council rates, the upkeep of common areas, and related services. Permanent residents may also be eligible for rent assistance from Centrelink.

    There is a strong neighborhood feel to manufactured home villages; this choice brings the benefits of community life filled with a strong taste of independence.

    Co-Housing Communities

    A very new option just starting to emerge for seniors in Australia is co-housing communities.