For many of us, there comes a time when the notion of downsizing moves from a fleeting thought to a reality. While the triggers are vast as they are varied, the common denominator is the time for change.
Some may choose a sea change, a tree change, or simply a smaller home closer to the grandkids. For others, it may lead to a more considered search for affordable, safe, and secure alternatives to the family home.
As Canberra’s population continues to age, many are seeking solace in the attractive lifestyle that retirement villages offer. Retirement villages today offer everything from apartment style complexes to resort style retreats, packed to brim with facilities galore.
Boasting low maintenance amenities from gyms, to pools, and bowling greens, they have something for everyone. And, with many offering a variety of leisurely activities, there are enough occasions to keep the most avid social butterflies engaged.
However, with so many to choose from, picking a retirement village that’s right for you can be a little overwhelming. The good news is that you are not alone. Research from the Property Council of Australia indicates a growing popularity of retirement living amongst Australia’s senior population. So, where are the best retirement villages in the Canberra region? Read on below to find out more.
What makes a great retirement village?
The best retirement villages offer the best of both worlds. The provide the flexibility to design the lifestyle you desire, while offering the support needed to feel secure. While assessing potential village communities the following criteria may be helpful:
- Reflects your lifestyle. Much like any property decision, your retirement village of choice should reflect your desired way of life. Many variables contribute to the overall lifestyle vibe of a village. From the nature of the property, to the location, grounds, facilities, and services – each has a role to play. Consider what is most important to you and prioritise accordingly.
- Community approach. One of the biggest draw cards of retirement living is the sense of community it provides. Investigate community links across all potential villages to understand just how connected they are. Enquire about the residents committee, their role, and ways to get involved. Meet the community manager and consult with current residents to obtain an open and honest view from within.
- Amenities to activities. The best retirement villages have all the amenities and activities you could possibly need. From facilities like pools and gyms through to libraries and golf courses the choice is yours. Indeed, many villages boast onsite coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants. Activities on offer should also be considered. Many villages run a regular series of social events; from movie and book clubs, to knitting groups and bocce tournaments. If you have any hobbies or passions, find a village that will enable you to pursue them.
- Support as you need it. While retirement villages offer the freedom to live independently, the best will also provide support when needed. This support can vary, from an emergency call system or come-to-you lifestyle to allied health services such as hairdressers or yoga classes. It can also translate to the delivery of services from general practitioners, physiotherapists and more. Some villages might have regular visits, while others partner with nearby or on-site aged care facilities. Consider your future health needs and ensure these can be adequately met.
- Clear contracts & charges. Naturally, costs for entering a retirement village vary, and are generally dependent on the property type, facilities and services offered. So too does the legislation that governs retirement property purchases. Great retirement villages appreciate these nuances and provide a clear overview of contractual terms and conditions. All costs and associated feeds should be clearly stipulated including clauses for when these do – or don’t – come into play. Great villages will insist that you seek professional financial and legal advice and are transparent from start to end. A great starting point is Access Canberra’s retirement village handbook.
The best retirement villages in Canberra
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To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Supporting Canberra for over 65 years, Goodwin’s retirement living communities give you everything you need to live life to the fullest and remain active, engaged, and social in a beautiful environment.
Offering large one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas and apartments, Goodwin’s award-winning villages are renowned for their high-quality design, exceptional services, and friendly community.
Goodwin villages have a wide range of amenities to help you make the most of retirement. These include communal club houses, cafes, gyms, libraries, activity rooms, flower and veggie gardens, billiards rooms, theatrettes, croquet lawns, business centres, men’s sheds, Ainslie’s much-loved heated swimming pool, and more.
Each village employs a full time Village Manager, Resident Services Coordinator, Lifestyle Officer, and onsite Maintenance Officers. You’ll always have someone to help out when needed – and you won’t be stuck with any surprise maintenance bills.
All properties are mobility aid-friendly, with discretely wide doors, level entries to rooms and showers, and a 24/7 emergency call system.
With no stamp-duty, clear and easy to understand contracts, a six-month settling in period, and no re-sale costs when you leave, Goodwin removes the risks to help make life stress-free.
As a signatory of the national Retirement Living Code of Conduct, you can trust Goodwin to be honest, transparent, and of top quality.
As Paul Hollings wrote on Google, "Outstanding facility, extremely well maintained and beautiful gardens and courtyards."
Marigal Gardens is an over 55's retirement village in the leafy suburb of Kambah. It boasts a secure, low maintenance way of life in a brand new easy-care homes alongside like-minded people. With a relaxed atmosphere and someone else taking care of the heavy maintenance, you can enjoy the lifestyle that suits you best - now and into the future.
Light-filled and spacious two or three-bedroom villas are available, with 24 hour emergency assistance and security to give you peace of mind. Marigal Gardens' community facilities include a library, meeting room, theatrette, hair salon and gym. Located in close proximity to public transport, local shops and the regions many parks and trails Marigal Gardens is a great choice.
Jeff Stiff had this to say about Marigal Gardens on Google, "Lovely village with modern facilities".
The Grove Ngunnawal delivers it’s signature resort-style living for over 55’s in spades. Offering a range of private 2 or 3-bedroom modern villas, each designed to provide a high quality of life and low-maintenance living.
The Grove boasts an impressive list of amenities and activities, with a pool, gym, shed, arts and crafts room, and library – all within beautifully landscaped surrounds. Conveniently located with easy access to surrounding shops, parks, and recreational facilities The Grove is certainly worth a visit.
Denise Creighton-Jurgens shared this review on Google, “Great Independent living Villa complex. Lovely front aspect with little gardens and gorgeous private backyards, plenty of room for your fur babies. Nicely appointed inside, roomy too. The clubhouse is fantastic, always something happening.”
Perfectly nestled in the charming suburb of Narrabundah, Azure Village has been thoughtfully created for life over 55. Built over an impressive 3.7 hectares just minutes from Australia’s iconic capital city, this pet-friendly retirement village offers a choice of modern, low-maintenance two and three-bedroom retirement villas.
Having partnered with Catholic Care, Azure Village also provides occasional, short-term, or round the clock home care services for residents. To embrace retirement living in a safe, secure, and friendly community look no further than Azure Village.
Kristy Bradley shared her thoughts on Google, “Independent Living Units that have an organisation behind them that really care about building sustainable communities and supporting those who need assistance.”
Conveniently situated in Tuggeranong, Greenway Views is LDK’s first purpose-built seniors living village in the Canberra region. With over 380 purpose-built apartments Greenway Views provides all the freedom, comfort, and privacy sought by many residents bundled with an active community.
With more facilities to mention, Greenway Views boasts a charming café and on-site grocer, a restaurant and bar, and a state-of-the-art auditorium. For added peace of mind it also offers round the clock personalised care as needed. With many options to cater for every need Greenway Views makes for an excellent choice.
Sheelah Egan shared this sentiment on Google, “The extraordinary thing about this place is the welcoming ambience, the luxurious look of the place, the 5 star meals in the restaurant - but beyond that, it's the authentic friendliness of the staff and how everyone treats you like a person who matters. They really listen, they know your name, your likes and dislikes, your food and beverage preferences. You enjoy the conversations, the personal connection. It's like being amongst old friends.”
To explore other aged care alternatives, look at our article on the best residential aged care services in the region. For extra assistance while still at home be sure to read our article on the best home aged care services. And, if you’d like to expand your social circle perhaps our article on the best seniors programs and activities in Canberra may be of interest.
Your experience with residential aged care services in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the residential aged care facilities listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a retirement village?
A retirement village is a community of properties and amenities designed for older Australians who wish to keep living independently in a private home while enjoying shared facilities that come with community living. The properties come in many shapes and sizes, from villas and terrace houses, through to medium and high-rise apartments. Services and facilities also vary and can range from maintained gardens and pools through to golf courses, organised social events, and 24-hour emergency assistance. For a full breakdown of inclusions consult prospective retirement villages for details.
What is the difference between a retirement village and residential aged care?
A retirement village is primarily self-care in nature, designed for residents who are generally independent and require little assistance. They are often comprised of a group of private residences and offer a range of shared facilities for recreation along with spaces for ‘come to you’ services such as doctors, physiotherapists, or hairdressers. Unlike retirement villages, residential aged care provides accommodation, health care and support services to residents requiring round-the-clock supervision and assistance. In this way residential aged care tends to be more needs driven, with potential residents requiring an ACAT assessment along with some level of either personal or nursing care.
How much does living in a retirement village cost?
The costs of living in a retirement village does vary between operators, so it is important to seek expert advice. In general, there are three core components that contribute to costs: the price paid to purchase the right to reside in the village; the management fee which is the contribution to manage and maintain the village; and the service fee which is the contribution to manage and maintain the village community. There may also be additional costs to consider such as stamp duty along with exit or deferred management fees. Be sure to clarify all costs, including payment terms and conditions prior to joining.
What types of tenure are available when buying into retirement villages?
There are various types of tenure when it comes to owning a property in a retirement village. The most common are loan-licence agreement, residential tenancy agreements, and unit titles. Less common tenure types include community title and company title schemes. Each carries different types of legal title, occupancy rights, and various charges. For more information review the Retirement Villages Handbook available from Access Canberra. Be sure to research options well and consider seeking independent financial advice to better understand available options.
What if I decide a retirement village is not for me after signing the contract?
After signing a retirement village contract, a cooling-off period of seven business days applies. During this period, you can rescind the contract without any financial penalty in most instances, provided you have not yet moved into the residences. It might be worth seeking professional counsel prior to making any contract decisions.