Retirement Village Living

What is a Retirement Village?

A Retirement Village is a where people aged 55 and over may live in a communal setting. They vary in their layout and may comprise separate living units with their own gardens, or units all located under the one roof in an apartment style complex.

Some Retirement Villages offer facilities such as a Community Centre, swimming pool, dining facility and services such as a carer being located on site, whereas others have very limited amenities and services. There are also serviced apartments which may offer cleaning, laundry and provision of meals.

They may also vary greatly in size, with some facilities having just a handful of units on site, while other may have well over a hundred units.

When you move into a Retirement Village unit you are purchasing a ‘license to occupy’ and not ‘bricks and mortar’.

Retirement Villages in South Australia are regulated by the Retirement Villages Act 2016.

How do I qualify to enter a Retirement Village?

Provided you meet the age requirement, it is simply a matter of you placing your name on the waiting list. Many villages will have a vacancy they can offer you now, while others may have waiting lists where you may have to wait for a couple of years for a vacancy to arise.


What are the types of Retirement Villages?

Generally, there are two major types of entry structure for a Retirement Village Unit;

Resident Funded

For a Resident Funded unit you will pay an upfront cost and an ongoing regular (fortnightly) maintenance fee. When you vacate the unit, you will be refunded a percentage of the market or cost price, less any refurbishment and marketing fees. The percentage deducted when you vacate the unit (called a deferred management fee) is often as high as 30% within 3-5 years of occupation.

Entry Contribution

For an Entry Contribution unit, you will usually pay an upfront cost and an ongoing regular maintenance fee (fortnightly), however when you vacate the unit, you will not be refunded any money. The upfront cost of an Entry Contribution unit is usually significantly less than that of a Resident Funded unit, hence it can be an attractive alternative where finances are tight.  There are variations offered by some facilities, where the upfront cost is higher, however a percentage is refunded when you vacate the unit. If you have only lived in the unit for a short period of time (1 or 2 years) you may also receive a part refund of the upfront cost.

You may also find some facilities offer the following options;


There are also rental units available, however there is a limited choice, and often there are lengthy waiting lists.

Supported Retirement Facilities (SRF)

There are some facilities which offer assistance with personal care, including showering & dressing, and services including provision of meals, cleaning & laundry. While these facilities may provide an adequate level of assistance for you at present, that may not be the case should your health deteriorate further. So, prior to committing to a move into a SRF, we recommend that you carefully consider whether such a move will adequately meet your medium to longer term care needs, especially taking into account the costs that apply when you vacate your unit together with the inconvenience and stress of having to make one additional move.

What are the costs of Retirement Villages?

Apart from the entry and maintenance costs (refer above), a deferred management fee is charged when vacating a ‘Resident Funded’ unit. The amount of this fee will vary between facilities.

Also, when you vacate the facility you may be charged a capital contribution cost (based on how many years you’ve resided in your unit ), refurbishment  and marketing costs.

The timing of when you will receive payout upon vacating your unit will also vary between facilities. A recent variation to The Retirement Villages Act 2016 SA has provided that payout must occur within 18 months from when you vacate the unit.

Things to consider

If you wish to move into a Retirement Village, you should consider a number of things prior to committing to such a move. These include;

  • What are the upfront and ongoing fees and charges you will be required to pay?

  • What fees and charges will be deducted when you vacate your unit and when will payout be received?

  • Are there any ongoing charges that continue from when you vacate your unit, until payout is received or the when your unit is relicensed?

  • If you need to relocate into Residential Care, what provision is made to cover your Residential Care costs while waiting for your unit to be relicensed?

  • What services are offered and amenities provided, and do they adequately meet your future needs as you become older, as you may suffer deterioration in your health?

Prior to entering an agreement to move into a Retirement Village we strongly encourage you to obtain legal advice, and that you make yourself fully aware of the fees and charges you will pay, especially those upon vacating the facility, and the timing of when payout will be received. We also recommend that in assessing the suitability of the facility, that you also factor in whether it will adequately meet your future needs, so you may remain living there independently for as long as possible.

Age Care Directions can advise you on all the aspects of Retirement Village accommodation and assist you with finding the right place for your future.

We offer a specialized search service for Retirement Village accommodation where we identify and match the Retirement Villages that closely meet your requirements, preferences and budget. 

When we meet with you, we will make you fully aware of all the important considerations you should take into account prior to making a final commitment. We will also discuss services which may be of benefit to you in the future, even though you may consider them unnecessary at the moment.

For assistance with accessing Retirement Accommodation

Get in touch with us today if you would like to find out more