…I have watched with interest as retirement villages rapidly increase in popularity (although they are only one option available to ageing people). One only needs to note the amount of village advertising we are now exposed to. The percentage of the 75+ age group living in villages has increased from 9.4% in 2012 to 12.6% in 2017. Our ageing population is, of course, heavily influencing this growth. The elderly wrestle with the retirement village decision for themselves, or their families seek to assist their ageing relatives in considering this option. The sophistication and availability of villages now available on the market is also significantly increasing…along with their prices!
This type of accommodation is now significantly regulated by law with very strict compliance requirements for villages designed to inform and protect current and potential residents. These include the requirement of prior disclosure statements intended to give an overview and background to the village. Residents must also receive independent legal advice, and be given a 15 working day right of cancellation following execution of the occupancy right agreement.
Retirement villages are not for everyone. Most only provide an occupancy right and not an interest in the village land. However, they can reduce anxiety and concerns related to existing home costs and related challenges, and in many cases, a supportive, caring environment. Additional services may be available, for example medical support.
Cost factors include a contribution deducted from the initial price paid which is ultimately refunded when the occupation right ends. This can range from 20% to 30% of the entry price. Some see this as a significant negative, and it does need to be considered carefully. My view is that this deduction (hopefully) represents the value of obtaining the benefit of a secure and supportive environment. It is the cost of buying a community lifestyle to enjoy and relax in during your elder years.
The decision to enter into a retirement village is a major one and not easily made. It is desirable to involve your family in the process, if you can. There are many factors that need to be considered apart from legal and economic. As experienced lawyers operating in this field, it is our responsibility and desire to assist and guide you through this process and the wisdom of your decision. Our aim is that you understand not just the documents you sign, but also the implications of your decision. This applies at the time you enter into the village, and also for your future occupancy, as your need for additional support and services may increase over time.
Transitioning from independent units to more advanced care units or facilities can also have challenges and cost implications which may not be foreseen. Documentation terms can vary from village to village (for example whether or not ongoing weekly cost contributions can increase over time). Our involvement with a number of villages enables us to provide some degree of comparative evaluation, to the benefit of our clients.
Gaze Burt consultant David Munn has experience to assist with the many issues those of more mature years and their families can face at this stage of life. Contact David if this article raises questions for you.