Choosing the Right Retirement Village for Your Parents: Rural or Urban?

Choosing the Right Retirement Village for Your Parents: Rural or Urban?

Imagine the perfect post-retirement life. 


For many people, it's likely a place where quality amenities, a community of peers, a wide range of activities, natural spots, and professional healthcare are all within easy reach.


Believe it or not, such a way of life can very much become a reality for our senior-aged loved ones. They can embrace this comfortable lifestyle by choosing to live in any of the retirement villages scattered across Australia and the rest of the world. 


That said, there are more than a few property types that can be used to house seniors. From apartments and houses to bungalows and condo units, the sheer variety of lodging options can be overwhelming.


The location of the development is also an influential factor. Many retirement villages are located in gated subdivisions on the outskirts of an urban centre, typically with large, sprawling green spaces and a slew of outdoor activities the residents can partake in. 


However, many property developers are concentrating their efforts on constructing senior housing in more centralised locations. This presents a golden opportunity for residents to enjoy city-living benefits without being too isolated from the greater community.


There are inherent advantages and drawbacks to choosing either type of retirement village. Let's look into these nuances in more detail to help you make a decision right for you or your loved one.


5 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Retirement Village

Location is undoubtedly a key factor to consider when picking where a senior should stay post-retirement, but it's not the only one.


Here are some other things you should look out for when picking a retirement village.


  1. Security: Seniors should feel safe not only in their own accommodations but also in the property at large. Ideally, crime-prevention resources like CCTVs and metal detectors should be installed to combat and prevent threats from making any unwanted entry. Emergency call systems in each unit should also be considered in case of health emergencies.
  2. Facilities: Property developers offer different facilities to entice would-be residents to pick their locations. This, naturally, entails some degree of variety. So do some digging and check the facilities of different places, as the right ones can help you pass through long, dull days like a breeze! 
  3. Accommodation Type: Pick an accommodation type that you feel would fit you or your senior loved one the best. Many elderly folks find downsized homes perfectly fine, so you don't have to go all-out with a lavish and spacious apartment. Typically, retirement villages provide villas, studio apartments, townhouses, and, in some cases, assisted living arrangements.
  4. Cost: Living in retirement villages can range anywhere between $100 to $1,000 per month, although some places can even exceed the upper bracket at times. Factor in the cost of living and match it with your or your loved one's ability to pay it off.
  5. Community: It can be easy to feel isolated in an unfamiliar environment, and it need not be said that this can have severe consequences on your mental health. As such, be sure to get a feel of how the staff and residents interact with one another and see if you can form meaningful connections with them.

The Pros of Rural Living

1. Natural Environment

The farther away you are from the city, the cleaner and greener the environment around you will be. 


This can be a good thing for your mental health as being in nature can induce calming effects. Furthermore, large green spaces are also conducive to fun, recreational outdoor activities like golf, bird spotting, and fishing.


If the senior in your life enjoys the outdoors, then they'd appreciate living in a retirement community in the Central Coast and other rural areas significantly more.

2. Micro-City Features

A big reason why many people move away from rural communities into urban cities is because of a dramatic increase in opportunities and facilities. 


That said, when you're in retirement, the need to chase the metaphorical money hook has likely dwindled considerably, so the opportunity is not necessarily a priority.


Facilities like hospitals may be better in cities, but the good news is that rural villages will often have medical professionals on standby within the property grounds. 


Stores are also likely very close by (if not within the grounds themselves) or have delivery partners that can accommodate the requests of residents.


In that respect, moving to rural villages is not quite like moving to a small unnamed town, as the property is still equipped with a fair amount of facilities to keep you entertained and sustain your living.

The Cons of Rural Living

1. Geographic Isolation

Even if the retirement village is equipped with the best amenities, there are certainly times when you or your senior loved one would want to head out to town. 


For people living in rural villages, this is significantly more challenging as public transportation may not be readily available. And if the property has shuttle buses and the like, it can still be quite a slog to sit in transportation for hours on end before you reach a major city.

Furthermore, the location could also prohibit or make it harder for relatives to visit their elderly loved ones more frequently. This can be a dealbreaker for some, especially for particularly tight-knit families.

2. Can Get Boring

A rural village can be peaceful and slow-paced. Many people find this sufficient and they can perfectly accept such conditions. Others may not.


If you fall under the latter category, it can be tough finding ways to pass the time in rural villages. This is especially true if the closest town to you doesn't offer much else in terms of entertainment.


If you constantly seek stimulation and aren't one who wants to stay put for the rest of their lives, you may want to reconsider living in a rural retirement village.

The Pros of Urban Living

1. Better Access to Outside World

Living in a city gives you access to more places to go outside your village. 


Want to eat out in a restaurant? There are likely a dozen different restaurants you can feast on in under a mile radius. 


Want to watch the latest hit movie? That's definitely possible! 


Maybe you want to go out to a park, garden or even a beach outside your place? That's likely not a problem.


If you want to stay connected to all these perks, then a retirement village in a city like Sydney may be more up your alley.


2. Better Healthcare

Healthcare options are most abundant in the cities, as hospitals there are often equipped with the most cutting-edge medical equipment and the best medical professionals.


If you are facing a specific condition that maintenance pills can't fix, then it might be safer to live close to established hospitals to get adequate treatment.

The Cons of Urban Living

1. Pollution and Noise

Urban areas, for all their conveniences, often grapple with higher levels of noise and air pollution. 


The incessant buzz of traffic, construction, and honking cars may also constantly become unbearable for the more impatient of us. Similarly, air pollution can be a concern, especially for seniors with respiratory conditions


If you're particularly sensitive to these things, consider moving your parents farther away from the city.

2. Higher Cost of Living

Housing, food, and entertainment expenses in the city tend to exceed that of rural villages. 


For the budget-strapped senior, this can be problematic, especially if they don't have access to funds outside their savings account.


As such, be sure to factor in how much you're able to spend per month and determine whether it's enough to sustain your livelihood in the city. If the budget is too tight, you may want to move farther away or choose to forgo certain facilities.


Ultimately, the decision between choosing an urban or rural retirement village for your parents is never easy. Take plenty of time to consult with your parents about this all-important decision to help maximise their twilight years.



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