By Lesa Macpherson

The new term for down-sizing is right -sizing. In making the decision to move into a Retirement Village there are many things that should be carefully thought through prior to progressing with your retirement living decision.

  • Both Lifestyle choices and Financial costs are important. The emotional components of your decision need careful consideration as well as the financial aspects.
  • Visit a variety of villages and picture yourself in each of them. Talk to residents, as well as your friends and family when making your decision.
  • How will you continue to include your loved ones in your life at the Village you choose?
    • Will you be close to friends and family?
    • Can they stay overnight for a short visit?
    • Are pets allowed?
    • Does the Village include bus/transport services?
  • An engaging lifestyle is a very important consideration. Can you keep up your favourite hobbies or learn new ones? What clubs/social groups/activities are offered?
  • Can you afford the ongoing costs – not just entry costs? Understand what they are.
  • What happens with any Capital Gain on the unit? Some allow no gain while some share it equally with the operator.
  • What are the renovation or refurbishment requirements or obligations on exit?
  • Exit Fees – What are they? How are they calculated?
  • If you leave the Retirement Village what are your entitlements? How soon would they be paid?
  • What sort of contract are you entering into – Freehold? Lease?  Licence to reside?
  • What arrangements are there for ill health/support/hospitalisation if needed?
  • Ongoing care … For higher level care can you stay in the Village, or do you have to move elsewhere?  Consider the costs of transitioning.
  • Home Help and Aged Care is a vital consideration. Plan these sooner rather than later. What options are available?
  • Do you prefer new, or established accommodation?  High Rise? A garden? Take time to view a variety of options. If possible, look closely at floor plans and view lived in areas, not just a display unit.
  • Ask about the demographics of each option – does the age range of other occupants suit you?
  • If you are still partnered, would fees be manageable if you become single (through separation or death)?
  • Can you maintain your own garden? How would the area be modified for your pet?
  • What’s covered in the GSC (General Service Charge)? Do you pay for electricity, gas, water, internet separately? Are these shared, or are they individual costs?
  • Can you meet the on-site manager? Do you relate well? What involvement does the residents committee have? How are disputes resolved in the Village?
  • Is the security in the Village suitable for you?
  • What arrangements are in place for maintenance of:
    • Units;
    • Community Facilities;
    • Grounds/common areas.
  • Are meals or a dining area available?
  • When are Village staff on duty? How often is there a nurse on duty? Who responds to emergency call buttons? Are these provided?
  • Review amenities and services. For example – wheelchair access, physio, exercise and relaxation classes, gym equipment, pool, spa, hairdresser, men’s shed, library etc.

The State Government in its Retirement Village Documentation strongly recommends obtaining Independent Legal Advice prior to signing a Retirement Village Contract. When entering into any contract for a Retirement Village Contract always use a lawyer with extensive experience in that area – not a generalist lawyer or conveyancer.

Brisbane Elder Law are experts in relation to Retirement Village contractsWills and Estates, and all Elder Law issues. Call us on 1800328952 or visit