With so many retirement-living options, it can be a challenge to decide on the best place to spend your golden years. So, with the help of Anne Lewis from Bellarine Springs in Drysdale, we’ve put together a brief summary of key things to consider when looking for a quality retirement village…
Community facilities and activities: Compare what different villages offer in terms of communal facilities and activities. Is there a modern community centre with lounge and dining areas? What about recreational facilities like a pool, spa, gym, bowling green, tennis court and a barbecue area? Is there an activities calendar for events, outings, hobbies and fitness classes? Bellarine Springs has these types of facilities, and if the village you’re considering does too, there’s a good chance the community is active and friendly, and you’ll never have a reason to be lonely or bored.
Transparency: Quality villages, such as Bellarine Springs, will provide clear information about their financial structures, and take the time to answer questions and explain the paperwork. Ask for a factsheet at each village, to help you compare ‘apples with apples’. A quality village will give you all the time and space you need to make a decision, and encourage you to seek independent, expert advice from a solicitor before signing anything. If you feel pressured to sign anything before you’re ready, walk away.
Village management and rules: Before you pick a village, do some research about the operator and village manager, as well as the village rules. Talk to residents and find out about any restrictions that might affect you, such as whether you can have pets. Bellarine Springs welcomes well-behaved pets, but many don’t, so it’s important to check. Ask whether friends and family can stay with you and use the facilities when they visit. The more you know, the easier it will be to make a well informed decision.
Location: When deciding on a village location, consider whether it’s close to family, friends and all the facilities you might need, including shopping, entertainment, libraries, churches, clubs and services, such as hairdressing, medical centres and allied-health providers.
Privacy, safety and security: The homes in good villages like Bellarine Springs are made from brick, are not ‘demountable’ (portable), and have features such as quality security doors, fencing and/or key-card access. Check that the village is well lit at night, and has security systems in place, such as 24-hour emergency call systems, as well as CCTV. Living in an established, friendly community also means staff and residents will be on the lookout for you and your home, including collecting your mail while you’re away.
Your new home: Quality villages offer well-appointed quality-built brick homes designed to minimise maintenance, while maximising light, space, independence, security and privacy. While most good villages will maintain your lawn and common areas, some villages, including Bellarine Springs, will offer the option of maintaining your own front garden – so you can give it your own special touch. Also check whether you can change your home to fit your tastes.
The future: Reputable villages, such as Bellarine Springs, ‘future proof’ their residences and facilities, for example by excluding stairs from their designs and including ‘easy-on’ tapware, non-slip floors, and handrails. Good villages also have rooms for visiting health providers, making it easy to access extra care as you get older.
Bellarine Springs is located at 101 Central Rd, Drysdale. To find out more, pop into the village Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, or call the village on 5253 0111 to make a weekend appointment.