Retirement villages and residential care are different

Purchasing into a retirement village is a lifestyle choice. Residential care is for people with high dependency needs who have been needs-assessed as requiring long term care.

In a village you purchase tenure, for example an Occupation Right Agreement, and pay an ongoing service fee. This usually covers emergency call, rates, building insurance, security, lawns, gardening and exterior maintenance.

Serviced apartment fees are generally higher and include extra services such as meals, housekeeping and personal care.

It may be possible to access rest home and hospital care in a serviced apartment or care suite that you purchase. You then pay for care privately or via the residential care subsidy. Check details with your Needs Assessor and lawyer before making a commitment.

Things to note:

  • If you move into a retirement village independent unit or serviced apartment, you may not be able to access publicly funded home support services such as home help or help with showering and dressing. Check the village contract for this. You may need to pay the village to provide these services.
  • If you move from independent living into residential care, you may have to continue paying service fees for the independent unit, plus premium room fees and residential care fees. Costs can be significant.
  • Check which levels of residential care are available at a village. Not all villages offer care on the same site, for example dementia care may not be provided. If you require care that is not available onsite, you may need to relocate.
  • Premium room fees usually apply in retirement village care facilities. There is no public funding for premium room fees. Even if you are eligible for a Residential Care Subsidy / Loan, you are required to cover the cost of premium room fees privately.
  • Thoroughly research potential care costs and outgoings with family and your lawyer before you become a retirement village resident.
The following resources may also be helpful:

The law society

Good legal advice is vital. The Law Society website(external link) lists lawyers experienced in retirement village work or phone them on 04 472 7837.

The commission for financial capability

The Commission for Financial Capability website(external link) has useful information, and publishes a booklet called Thinking of Living in a Retirement Village?

The retirement village association (RVA)

Check if the village is a member of the RVA. The association's website(external link) has information or you can phone them on 04 499 7090.

Eldernet(external link) has listings of rental accommodation in complexes or villages.