I’m not sure a retirement community is for me

Deciding to move to a retirement community is a big choice, and one that shouldn’t be made lightly. But like any big decision, it’s best made once you have all the information. You may have a number of concerns about retirement living that could prove to be unfounded – let’s look at some of the most common.

I’m an introvert and like my privacy

This is a big concern for many people, as they prefer not having people around them all the time. But the great thing about retirement communities is that they facilitate freedom and choice. You’ll still be living in your own home, and if you don’t want to socialise with the people around you, then you don’t have to.

You’re free to socialise when and with whom you choose. For many people, the opportunity to be more social is a great drawcard for retirement communities, but if this is not you, that’s okay too.

You really are free to live your life on your own terms in a retirement community, and no one makes decisions for you.

I don’t like cookie cutter communities

Not all retirement communities are all alike, with many offering choices of different homes, or the chance to build your own home.

As well, you are free to decorate your home as you wish, spend your time as you wish, choose when to travel and when to live at home, when to eat – in short, to spend your time exactly how you wish.

There’s still plenty of freedom and choice in a retirement community, plus you get the benefits of community living if you choose to access them.

I like participating in my own hobbies, not group activities

That’s fine, as mentioned above, you’re free to choose your level of participation within the community. If you’d rather take part in your own hobbies/sports/activities, you’re more than welcome to do so.

There’s no compulsion to join in with any type of group activity or event – the choice is entirely up to you. And if you don’t have time to join in with group activities either, that’s not going to be a problem.

I’m not fully retired

That’s okay, you don’t have to be. It might surprise you to know that you don’t actually have to be retired at all to live in a retirement community.

Many have age requirements, however, so you generally need to be over a certain age (although not always, such as in cases where your partner is over the required age, but you are not). But whether you are still working or fully retired is usually irrelevant when it comes to moving to a retirement community.

I like my life how it is

That’s great – and you’re free to bring that lifestyle to your retirement community. The only thing that will change is your address – the rest of your life can remain exactly the same if that’s what you want.

I don’t have a lot of money

Then downsizing to a retirement community is likely to be a good idea – plus you’ll save on maintenance and repair costs for your home. While the fee structure of each retirement community is likely to be different, you’ll generally be able to save on living expenses by living in a shared community.

I’m independent and don’t need help

Great! Retirement communities are full of people just like you!

Retirement communities are also known as independent living communities, and that’s because they are intended for seniors able to live on their own with minimal supervision or assistance.

Most people living in retirement facilities are healthy, active and live a full and busy life. In essence, you are still living in your own home independently – the only difference is that that home is located with a community structure.

I do need help

While retirement communities are generally slated for independent people, that doesn’t rule you out if you do need extra assistance with something.

You have options to get extra assistance in the home, such as Home and Community Care, or perhaps a Community Aged Care Package, depending on your needs.

I have a pet

Many retirement communities are very accepting and welcoming of pets. If you don’t want to leave Fido or Boots behind, it’s usually quite possible to find a retirement community to which you can bring them along.

Of course, you may have to take part in an interview with the community management to approve the pet, and a probationary period to ensure the situation works for everybody. But pets are usually not a problem.

I like gardening

While one of the benefits of retirement communities is the fact that household and garden maintenance is done for you, if you really like gardening (or some other chore), there’s always options.

Many communities are fine with residents adding their own individual touches to gardens, or even doing all the maintenance on their own garden if they like. You’d need to consult with management, but in many communities, you may certainly be able to whip that garden into shape.

You may also be able to work in a community garden or vegetable plot if one is available.

Have a look at a retirement community in NSW that takes freedom of retirement living to new heights – Alumuna, a retirement housing community for the independently-minded retiree.