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Retirement living - FAQ

Posted 7 July 2016 by Keith Osborne

Is there a minimum or maximum age to buy a retirement living apartment?

Yes, the lease of each apartment states that you may not live in a retirement living apartment if you are under the age limit. That limit varies according to whether you purchase an apartment for sole or joint occupancy. You will usually need to be at least 60 if you are buying as a single person. There is no upper limit, though all purchasers must be able to live independently as retirement living is intended for people who require minimal assistance.

If you are buying an apartment as a couple, then the age requirement is a little more flexible. At least one of you should be over 60, although the other may be 55 or over. You should enquire with the sales executives at each development as to their own particular lease requirements.

Why are there age limits on the lease requirements?

This is often a requirement of council planning departments, and meeting a government policy designed to create purpose-built housing for older people. You should note that this requirement is only for the person or people who will be living in the apartment, and that no such limit exists for the person who purchases it. So if you wished to purchase an apartment for your parent or parent, you do not need to be over 55 or 60.

Is a retirement living apartment the same thing as sheltered housing, or are there any differences?

Retirement living and sheltered housing are the same type of development. Just as with accommodation provided by councils and other organisations for rent, sheltered housing is designed for people who need minimal assistance, but appreciate the security of having a warden on site. Retirement living developments offer a 24-hour emergency call line, as well as a manager on site, usually five days a week. Otherwise, residents in this type of accommodation should be capable of leading independent lives, and not require nursing care.

Are these developments retirement villages?

Retirement villages are common in the United States, among people who wish to live in large communities of exclusively retired people. They are usually built on a very large scale, away from urban areas, with up to 250 homes on each location. Retirement villages have a wide range of facilities, such as golf courses and many facilities for socialising.

Not all developments are retirement villages. Many are located in or near town centres, making them ideal for people who do not drive or who wish to remain close to facilities such as hospitals, leisure opportunities, and shops. These developments are typically much smaller than a retirement village, too. This tends to be more appealing for residents who prefer to live in a community of retired people, but who still wish to remain connected to the wider community.

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