Retirement can be a bit of a sensitive subject, with many people choosing to put their retirement out of their minds for as long as they can. But planning for your retirement is essential. Lately, more and more people have been choosing to move to a retirement community for their senior years.
A retirement community is a place where retirees can live in close proximity to their peers, and often comes with several support programmes, like medical support services or food delivery services.
These communities are becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand, with the ease of a retirement community very appealing when planning your retirement. This article will go over both the advantages and disadvantages of retirement communities to give you a balanced view of what you’d experience if you chose to live in one.
Social and Community Interaction
A retirement community is just as it sounds, a community of your peers, all within a similar stage of life. It also has the advantage of removing the isolation that often comes with age, where travelling to see friends and family can become more taxing.
This allows for an increase in social interactions, where you can talk to people each and every day who have experienced the same issues you have, and who can commiserate, celebrate, and enjoy the same milestones that you are experiencing. It’s also important to remember that you can have as much or as little of this interaction as you feel comfortable, you’re in control.
The sense of belonging in a retirement community is hard to beat. At The Botanic, several residents have shared their stories, so you can help decide if a retirement community is something you would be interested in living in.
Safety and Security
One of the major concerns of someone who is growing older is keeping yourself safe and secure within your home. This includes making changes to your home to keep yourself mobile such as ramps or rails, and making arrangements in case of emergencies, including regular check-ins.
At a retirement village like The Botanic, the safety and security of each resident is built into each room. This includes modifications for ease of use, like hand-rails in high risk situations like the bathroom, the option of alarms for people who are at a higher risk of falls, and emergency staff always available on site.
This gives you peace of mind to simply enjoy yourself. You don’t need to wait for someone to come over so you can have a shower in case you fall, and you can live your life with more security and independence if you are at risk of having a medical episode when alone.
Convenience and Amenities
Another huge setback of living in your own residence when growing older is that travelling to amenities can get more and more difficult as time passes. The Botanic has communal facilities like a swimming pool, gym, and nature walk readily available within a short walk. This means you can get out and about, keeping up with your exercise without hurting yourself just getting there.
The Botanic also has facilities like a putting green, a workshop, cafe and dining experiences, and even both indoor and outdoor bowling options! These amenities can be readily accessed by each and every resident, meaning you don’t have to organise a whole troop of helpers just to introduce a bit of excitement into your life.
Cleaning is a chore at the best of times, but as you get into your senior years, spending time bent over scrubbing the floor can be near impossible. Having a dedicated cleaning staff, as well as maintenance staff for those difficult upkeep tasks means you’ll enjoy having your home kept clean, fresh, and well run.
Chores like cleaning out gutters and keeping up with outdoor maintenance is downright dangerous when you’re elderly and living alone, let the maintenance staff at The Botanic take care of those chores for you.
Cost and Fees
It is no secret that living in a retirement community can cost a lot. These costs can be very difficult to manage, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to build up a dedicated retirement fund to cover them.
Some of the costs you need to be aware of include initial fees to join the community, as well as ongoing monthly charges for support and maintenance. Some retirement communities may also have additional charges for residents who require additional support, like regular nurse visits, showering, or ongoing help with meals.
You should also be sure to check out if there are any ‘hidden’ costs that you might not think of right away. What happens if something breaks within your apartment? Will fees stay the same or do they go up over time. Moving into a retirement community earlier than you had originally planned can also impact how much money you will spend over the years.
Coming up with a retirement plan that includes budgeting and financial planning is a great option for managing the costs and fees associated with living in a retirement community. If you have any questions, reach out to The Botanic for a consultation with their dedicated staff members, who will be able to walk you through how much you can expect to pay.
Loss of Independence
Some people feel like moving to a retirement community can result in a loss of independence. We can certainly commiserate, as moving out of home can be difficult to deal with, especially when you have set routines and activities that you enjoy doing.
Losing this kind of independence can feel horrible, but we would urge you to consider what your alternatives may be. For instance, is living at home the right move for you if you develop mobility issues? What about living at another family member’s home, would this increase your independence or make you feel pinned down?
Another thing to think really hard about is managing your support team. You need to balance your independence with your need for ongoing and increasing support. While this change of support may not be available from your friends and family, it is automatically factored into the retirement community.
Restrictions on Access
Some retirement communities also have restrictions on who can enter their community. This is often to ensure that they continue to have space for those on their waiting lists. For example, an age restriction is common, and can be different from community to community.
On average, the age for entry to a retirement community in New Zealand is mid-70s. If you gain entry much older, or much younger, it may impact your ability to connect with your peers of the same age.
For the same reason, some communities may also have restrictions on the health of their residents, with entry prioritised for those who are unable to live at home any longer. This also helps to allocate the medical team to those who need it most, with some people potentially having health issues that should be managed in a community with more medical facilities or staff.
If you are interested in learning more about the criteria for entry at The Botanic, reach out to our friendly team today.
Choosing a retirement community is something that people rarely think about before they absolutely have to. However, choosing to plan your retirement down to the community you would most like to join can let you tailor your retirement plan to make sure you can gain access and have the support you need throughout your retirement.
Key advantages of a retirement community are that you have support available as and when you need it, and can make connections with peers that can often be difficult to maintain when living alone.
Key disadvantages are primarily cost, and can also include difficulties accessing the community you have your heart set on. Carefully thinking about what you need most, and planning long in advance can help to manage these disadvantages, and ensure you get the most out of your retirement community lifestyle.
If you are interested in retirement communities, try scheduling a visit or two with the ones you like most. Meet the residents, and talk to them about their experiences with support staff. Think about whether or not the staff are quick to respond to maintenance requests, and whether or not the facilities on offer are something you would actually like to take up.
Whatever you decide, The Botanic is here for you throughout the consideration process. Set up a consultation with one of our fantastic team of staff today, and get started with your retirement planning early so you can make the most of it!