Why Retirement Villages are Good for Your Health

19 Jul 2018

Retirement villages have come a long way over the last decade. For starters, most providers are no longer using the term ‘retirement’ and are opting instead for the term ‘lifestyle’ as it better represents what’s on offer to residents.

Lifestyle villages across Australia have increased their focus on delivering a range of activities and amenities that support community engagement and improved health and wellbeing.

Here are some of the reasons why moving to a lifestyle village could be just the change your health needs…

Unlimited exercise options

Staying fit and active as you age is something we should all strive for. Studies show that for people over 50, regular physical activity helps you stay independent, reduces your risk of falls and helps to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Which is why lifestyle villages offer a range of facilities to cater for residents’ physical health and wellbeing. Swimming pools and gyms are common facilities, but many villages offer choices like tennis courts, bowling greens and even excursions to nearby sports complexes.

If you need a little extra motivation, you can participate in one of the many group classes on offer, like aqua aerobics or yoga, or even sign-up for a team sport or golfing tournament. Some villages actually have their own private, professionally designed courses right next door so hitting the greens is so easy you can make it a daily habit!

Should you overdo it, or just need a little support to keep yourself moving, you’ll find a range of practitioners – like physios and chiropractors – who will come to you so you can make an appointment without having to leave the house.

Social interaction is good for your heart

Research shows that being socially active is just as important for our health as lifestyle factors such as diet, exercising and quitting smoking.

Social connectivity is also a way to minimise stress and prevent mental illness. The more isolated we feel, the more we put ourselves at risk of poor mental health, alzheimer’s and/or dementia.

In an age where we’re often scared to get to know our neighbours, a lifestyle village can offer you the security of knowing you’re surrounded by people of similar age who have similar interests. The villages are also designed with connectedness in mind, providing plenty of parks, seating and recreation areas to sit, chat and socialise.

Residents of lifestyle villages also have access to a range of organised social activities, including walking groups, cultural excursions, games clubs and even happy hours!

Resort-style living all year round

Lifestyle villages are located in the heart of some of Australia’s most sought-after locations but come with a much smaller price-tag than a regular property. Fancy waterfront views with a place to moor your boat? What about inner-city style with secure parking for your campervan for when you’re not travelling? These are the key selling features that lifestyle villages are offering in order to attract new residents.

The grounds are professionally maintained, with beautiful gardens and perfectly manicured lawns. So, there’s no need for you to mow those lawns, clean the gutters or even weed the garden (unless you want to). And when you consider that most lifestyle villages have an onsite cafe, business centre, library, hairdresser and swimming pool, it’s not hard to picture yourself slipping into holiday mode.

Need more convincing? Here are three common retirement village myths busted!

“You can’t bring your pets.”

The benefits of pet ownership are well-documented. Which is why more and more villages are allowing residents to bring their furry friends. Some locations even have their own off-leash dog exercise areas.

“It’s for people who’ve retired.”

Not true. Usually the only requirement for entry to a lifestyle village is that you’re over a certain age (usually 50-55). In fact, many people who live in lifestyle villages say it’s allowed them to extend their working life, because so much is taken care of by the village operators.

“I’m not ready for aged care.”

If the term ‘retirement village’ makes you visualise the image of elderly people in wheelchairs sitting alone in hospital-style rooms, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The focus of today’s retirement villages is on lifestyle and enjoying the freedom of less responsibility. Yes, you can access in-home care services, if you need them, but these supports are provided to help you maintain your independence for as long as possible.