A retirement community is a perfect place for active adults who no longer work. Adults in retirement communities can choose to reside in differing styles of accommodation such as self catering apartments or villas. In terms of the number of village communities in Australia, NSW has the most, with around 550 retirement villages catering to more than 40,000 retirees.
Retirement villages for the elderly first started in mid 1800's organised by church and charitable institutions. These villages were initially intended for the poor and widows.
During World War II, Reverend Harold Wheller from Brisbane asked the owner of Marchant's Soft Drink to fund his dream of creating little cottages and gardens for senior married couples. Mr. Marchant gave £22,000 for the project and selected the first retirement community site called Wheller Gardens at Chermside.
Prime Minister Menzies took notice of the project and he passed the Aged Person's Homes Act (APHA) in 1954 that provided subsidy to churches and charities to develop and oversee independent units. However, the Whitlam Government in 1974 opted to discontinue the subsidy forcing the group to support themselves.
The organisers had to charge fees to be able to continue operations and recover their re-investment expenses. The public housing became ‘resident funded' villages. To entice additional paying residents to the community, the villages provided better amenities and features compared with the free accommodation - this led to the blossoming of retirement communities as we now know them.
The majority of retirement villages are located either in the countryside or near the coast.
These are the different types of retirement communities according to pricing.
Affordable - These are usually run by non-profit organisations such as the local council or church associations. They provide housing to those who need rent assistance and the poor. Residents in these communities often pay weekly fees of below $50, while some don't pay any fees at all. The amenities are very basic but they do offer 24-hour emergency call to its residents. They also have a social coordinator who overlooks the welfare of the retirees and a community building.
Middle Market Communities - These retirement villages are administered by charitable and church organisations together with private investors. These villages generally have better facilities than the affordable ones. Aside from the basic amenities like 24-hour emergency call, the residents also usually get to enjoy a village bus, rooms provided for various activities such as arts and crafts, swimming pools both indoors and outdoors and medical rooms. The usual service fees every week is $50 to $75.
Resort Style Communities - These communities provide the most comprehensive and modern amenities. The villages are built with resort style themes, often centered around gardens, golf courses or lakes. Many have tennis courts, restaurants, shopping, free hairdressers, spas, gyms and much more.