Retirement Village or Aged Care?

Retirement Villages or Aged Care? What is the difference?

Retirement villages and aged care homes are two options available to older people, but to make an informed choice it is very important to understand the difference between retirement villages and aged care facilities. Each provides benefits suitable for different needs. 
Retirement villages in the ACT are regulated by the Retirement Villages Act 2012 (ACT), (updated by the Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2016 (ACT)). The regulation of retirement villages is different in all states and territories across Australia. In contrast to this, aged care facilities and services are regulated by the Commonwealth Government and are the same nation-wide.

Retirement villages

Retirement Villages are a great option for those who require minimal assistance and want to maintain their independence. Retirement villages promote a social lifestyle with others similar in age, often providing lifestyle services and social activities such as outings, organised meetings and groups and joint meals. Many villages offer shared amenities such as a community centre/club house for social activity, library, cafe, exercise facilities or a pool. 

Buying into a retirement village is not the same as buying an investment property. You may face substantial costs when you leave a village. Buying into a retirement village is a lifestyle decision, not an investment to make money.

Understanding Retirement Villages in the ACT Region  

Understanding contractual arrangements in relation to Retirement Villages in the ACT is often quite complex. To help you understand your rights better the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the ACT Government has published some extremely useful information:

Information on Retirement Villages in the ACT Region.

COTA ACT strongly recommends people exploring Retirement Village options to get independent financial and legal advice before signing any contract. 

Aged care facility

Aged care facilities are often funded by the Commonwealth government and are designed to provide supported living and care. Aged care facilities provide 24 hour services to ensure residents are supported at all times.  

Aged care facilities are designed for people who are not able to live independently. 

Fees at aged care facilities cover all care expenses - including meals and accommodations. There is the option to include additional services, but these incur additional fees. 

Access to aged care services depends on an aged care assessment, in accordance with the Commonwealth Aged Care Act 1997.

This means an aged care operator cannot keep places free for residents from a specific retirement village, even if it is on the same site or in the same building as the aged care facility.

When moving from a retirement village into an aged care facility, you may have to end your contract with the retirement village and pay any associated fees.

Useful links for Aged Care

My Aged Care (for information about aged care services)   

Income and assets assessment (for information about permanent residential aged care costs)   

Means Tested Care Fee (for information about the Means Tested Care Fee)



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Council on the Ageing (ACT)
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