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What Are Your Options: Living Comfortably In Retirement

What are Your Options: Living Comfortably in Retirement

One of the most common questions for the recently retired is about their options when it comes to housing. Depending on your age, health, and lifestyle desires, you may want to shift, downsize, or consider looking at a retirement village. 

Retirement Village

It wasn’t so long ago that many confused retirement villages as rest homes or aged care hospitals, whilst these options are available on-site, a retirement village is a bustling community that offer a range of facilities and options. Moving into a retirement village is considered a lifestyle choice by many who view the option as a stress-free, yet still independent alternative to remaining in their own home. Retirement villages such as Greenview Park Village offer independent apartments and a community feel to their residents. In addition, the on-site aged care hospital allows for the continuity of care, should your needs change. Terrence Kennedy House offers 24-hour care with a highly trained team of Registered Nurses and Health Care Assistants, meters from our apartments.

One of the biggest benefits of retirement homes is this peace of mind. From the knowledge that support is there should you need it, to the reassurance that your home will be cared for should you chose to travel. The downsides to retirement village living is that some options may not cater to every budget, and as many villages only offer one to two bedroom apartments, you may need to shift some possessions into storage. 

Your Family Home

Retiring in your family home is the goal for many, especially for the mortgage free. There are many benefits for staying put, such as preserving the emotional ties you may have to the home and the community, a familiarity to the location and maintaining current support systems. Additionally, moving can be extremely stressful, and put an emotional, physical and finical toll on a family. It is important to consider how you may feel in your home in 10 or more years. If your family moves out, you may have to heat and maintain empty rooms, or perhaps many sets of stairs will become an issue with reduced mobility. Discuss with your family what you would like to happen to you, and your home, in the instance where living independently there is no longer an option.

Downsizing

Have the kids moved out of home, or you just never get into that second lounge any more? Downsizing is a great opportunity to free up some of your equity to put towards your retirement and choose a new home that is better suited to your lifestyle and health needs. It can be an emotionally draining process, especially if you have been in that home for a long time. Take the time to look back on the life you had in that home, the adventures you’ve taken, the stories you’ve written, and get ready for the next chapter. When you move, you have the freedom to move somewhere with better healthcare options, closer to family, or is more ‘retiree friendly’. The choice is yours! Before you make the choice to move, consider what your health and lifestyle may be in 5, 10 or 15 years. There is also the possibility that with age, you or your partner may need additional support that would necessitate another move.

Renting

Many New Zealanders live in rented homes well into their retirement. Without your equity tied up in property, you are free to move if needed and are not subject to property rates or fees. Due to the flexibility of renting, the freedom to choose a location for friends, family, healthcare or social ties are up to you, and you can change homes if needed. The downsides to renting comes with this flexibility, as they can be uncertain long term homes due to the landlords right to sell. Furthermore, similar to downsizing, there is the chance that with changing mobility or health needs, you may need to move from your rental. New Zealand has a very competitive housing market, so finding homes in popular areas, such as those in close proximity to healthcare or other facilities can be difficult and expensive. Explore your rental options as it is a great alternative to village living or staying in your own home.  

Rest Homes

Rest homes, while often used interchangeably with retirement villages, are vastly different. The purpose of rest homes is to care for those who can no longer live independently, or care for themselves. Once an individual, their family, or a doctor believes that a rest home would be the best option, you may be evaluated by your district health board (DHB) to determine your eligibility for government-subsidised residential care. Rest homes are less of a lifestyle choice, and more driven by necessity for care. If you are struggling to live independently, discuss options with your family and doctor.  

Living with Family

Living with family can be a great option, as long as everyone is satisfied with the arrangement! ‘Granny flats’ are quite common in NZ homes which are additional living spaces tangential to the main home. Living with family offers both support and socialisation, plus extra family time. In turn, you can help with childcare needs, or cooking to take the weight of working family members. If you chose this option, make sure to plan and discuss alternative healthcare options for the future so the weight doesn’t fall to your family members. 

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