Whether you’re considering downsizing your home, relocating to a different city, renovating your existing residence, moving into a retirement village or an aged care facility, there’s a lot to think about.
We explore some of these avenues in more detail, so whether you’re making a decision for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, you feel more informed.
Downsizing your home, relocating or both
If you’d like to downsize your home, relocate somewhere completely new, or both, there will be a variety of things to factor in.
The first things to assess, if you’re looking to downsize or move to a more affordable location, are:
- What property and rental prices are like, and if they’re affordable
- How the general cost of living stacks up when it comes to food, transport and health
- What out-of-pocket expenses you might be looking at, such as connecting and disconnecting utilities, removalist fees, and stamp duty if you’re planning on purchasing a home in Australia
- Whether the money from a possible property sale could affect any Age Pension entitlements you may receive under the income and assets tests
- If you’re 65 or over and downsizing, if you’re eligible to take advantage of new rules whereby you can make an after-tax contribution of up to $300,000 per person (or $600,000 per couple) from the sale of certain qualifying properties into super.
To ensure you move somewhere you love, there will be other things to think about, such as:
- How far it’s located from your family and friends, and whether you know anyone in the place you’re thinking of moving to
- What local amenities are nearby—shops, restaurants, transport, medical facilities
- Whether the area is big on community events, if there are recreation facilities nearby and club associations you can join like Leagues and Rotary
- What the weather is like throughout the year and whether it’s going to suit you
- How the job market stacks up in case you decide to step back into the workforce
- What the crime rate is like.
If you’re not too sure about some of these things, that’s ok. It might be a good prompter to trial the type of place or area you’re thinking about moving to before leaving everything behind.
Renovating your existing home
You may be thinking about renovating your home to modernise it and potentially make your residence more accessible, which might also mean you’re able to delay moving into a retirement village or nursing home. If you’re considering installing handrails and ramps, widening doorways, installing emergency alarms and monitoring systems, the good news is there may be government subsidies1 to help you cover the costs, depending on what you decide.
Check out the government’s My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422 for more information.
Moving into a retirement village
Today, the average age of new residents entering retirement villages is 752.
Many existing residents say their motivations to move into a retirement village had to do with3:
- Wanting to downsize while they could
- Their former home was becoming too big to manage
- They wanted freedom from house responsibilities to pursue other interests.
If it’s something you’ve been thinking about and you’re wondering what to expect, many retirement villages offer a range of health, leisure, and support services. They’ll often include medical facilities, as well as recreational facilities, such as community halls, bowling greens, libraries, and pools.
There are many different payment models when it comes to retirement villages, but some typical costs you may come across include an entry contribution (which may be refundable), an exit fee, and ongoing charges to cover things like maintenance and general services provided by the village. How different villages charge can vary significantly, and some residents may be subject to different fee structures, which could also change overtime, which is why it’s important to speak to a legal professional before signing anything.
Your avenues in aged care
More than 50% of people over age 45 have previously or are currently dealing with aged care services for themselves, or on someone else’s behalf4, which is why considering your options in aged care earlier rather than later could provide you or a loved one with greater flexibility.
- Help in your own home - If you’re generally able to manage, but require assistance with daily tasks, there are various home-care packages available.
- After-hospital (transition) care - If you’ve been in hospital but need assistance while you recover, this type of service can be provided in your own home or ‘live-in’ setting for 12 to 18 weeks.
- Respite care - This service provides support for you and your primary carer when your carer has other duties to attend to, or when they’re on holiday.
- Residential aged care - This is where you live in full service residences and receive ongoing care and support. If it’s the best option for you, it’s a good idea to research and visit several residences to find the right place.
- Short-term restorative care - This provides a range of services over eight weeks to help prevent or slow down difficulties with completing everyday tasks. It aims to delay or reverse the need to enter long-term care.
Each aged care service has eligibility criteria and an assessment process which can be organised through the government’s My Aged Care service. Also keep in mind that the costs of different aged care services vary and may depend on income and assets, as assessed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.