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Home sweet home comes in many forms


Home sweet home comes in many forms

Most of us cling to the hope that we will remain living at home to the bitter end, but DON MACPHERSON explains, downsizing to a retirement village shouldn’t be confused with aged care.

People have often told us that they will never be moving into one of those “retirement places”.

“I’m going to be living in my home until I die,” they say.

On further inquiry it’s evident that some people confuse aged care with retirement living.

Often, they don’t truly understand what these options involve and what is provided. They fail to see the significant benefit, indeed often the need, to move from the old family home to a different but more age and health appropriate form of accommodation.

Aged care homes are commonly the last stop on the journey of life. They are akin to a low-care hospital bed, where the care can be intensive and continuous.

You get your own room, with shower and toilet, but usually have all meals supplied. On the other hand, retirement living, whether in a retirement village or an over 50s resort, usually starts off with fully independent living, albeit on a smaller floorplate than one’s former home.

Retirement living can transition to minor or increased home assistance, while still maintaining a significant degree of personal independence.

Many retirement villages facilitate in-home care, for a fee, which prolongs the independent nature of the living environment while providing an appropriate level of assistance to allow that to continue.

Government funded or supported assistance can also be available in retirement villages, and over 50s resorts.

This assistance allows residents to stay in their new home while getting the care they need.

Of course, Government or privately-funded assistance is available to people still living in their “old” home, but what increasingly becomes apparent is that the “old” home is getting too big, and too hard to maintain, hence the need to downsize (the industry calls it “right size”) to retirement living accommodation.

All of these options – aged care, retirement villages, and over 50s resorts – have their own specialist contracts. Each comes under separate legislation, whether state or federal, and sometimes a combination of both, and involves a significant financial outlay, with major long term financial consequences.

Proper legal advice should be obtained to fully appreciate what is being signed up for.

 Don Macpherson is an expert in elder law at Sunshine Coast Elder Law. Call 1800 328 952 or visit or

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