Getting older slows all of us down. Whether we enjoy good health or not, at some point we will reach a point where we can no longer live independently. For many, a retirement home can offer a comfortable way to enjoy their sunset years and provide peace of mind for loved ones that they are being looked after.

Retirement Homes Aren’t A Solution For Everyone

Many elderly people actually aren’t comfortable with the idea of a retirement home. They might associate it with the end of their life, and it’s confronting if it’s perceived as one step short of their final resting place. They might also find the financial structure of retirement homes confusing, with significant upfront and ongoing costs, that are intertwined with a contract based on length of stay.

Aged care is a huge growth industry. Australia’s Baby Boomers are now reaching retirement, and with retirement comes a review of living circumstances. Constant improvements in health care, and greater longevity are contributing to our ability to live independently longer, and with greater quality of life. The clear majority of people over 75 years of age aren’t living in retirement homes. They’re opting to stay living in their own homes, either alone or with a spouse. However, for those who are unable to care for themselves at home, what are the alternative options?

Living With Family

Less than 10% of those aged over 75 are living with family members. Western society has never been a strong supporter of the extended family concept, and most people don’t want their parents hanging around. However, there are signs that things are beginning to change.

Sydney has been experiencing a boom in granny flat construction, with around 100 being built every week. For those struggling to get into the property market ‘bunking in with Mum and Dad’, or tapping into the equity built up by grandparents, is becoming the only way of sourcing the funds they need to get onto the property ladder.

Help At Home

For those who still want to live at home and maintain a level of independence, hiring in home help is another option. Having full-time live in care can be extremely expensive, but there are also options for having part-time or casual support on a regular/fixed basis. These staff can help with transport, cleaning, minor medical checks, errands and other miscellaneous requirements. Government support is provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Golden Girls Living

The ladies in this show had the right idea which solved a number of issues with aging at home. Moving in with fellow friends or friends can provide a support network and healthy social environment that is ready made. Housemates can keep an eye on each other, and tend to be the first to detect if something is ‘off’.

Make The Most Of Retirement On The High Seas

For those elderly with a spring in their step and a thirst to see more of the world why not consider a cruise ship lifestyle? Many are enjoying the benefits of this option which is often compared to the cost of living in a retirement village.

“The World Residences at Sea” ship actually offers residents the chance to buy their own cabin and choose where the ship will sail. Other websites are also beginning to offer ‘floating retirement villages’ where retirees can choose to live. Existing cruise ships don’t have the full medical facilities that a retirement home can offer, but this mobile lifestyle can be a great option for those who aren’t yet ready to think about a retirement home, and are in reasonably healthy shape.

Consider An International Move

Another option for the adventurous is to settle in a foreign country. Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Colombia and Panama offer first class lifestyles, for a fraction of the cost of living in Australia. What surprises many people is the first-rate medical facilities available in these countries. Many have a friendly visa program that is welcoming to expats moving there, and fulltime in-home support can be had for as little as $3 per hour. With the internet it’s easy to stay in touch with loved ones back home via Skype or Viber, and if you’re somewhere exotic it’s almost a guarantee your family will visit regularly!

The options for retirees are many and varied. The happiness of the retiree is the ultimate consideration, and you may need to test drive various options before settling on the one that works best for all concerned.

If you’re trying to identify how to formulate a retirement plan that will keep everyone happy without breaking the bank, you don’t need to do it alone. A financial adviser (or planner) spends their days identifying and presenting opportunities to their clients. Our simple, quick, free service will connect you to the best independent financial advisers, based on your needs. Click here to get started.

The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal situation or circumstances. You should consider whether the information contained in this article is suitable to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or other finance professional.

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