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The differences between retirement villages and aged care

Retirement Village or Aged Care

Retirement villages and aged care facilities are not the same thing. While they both cater to the elderly and can sometimes be found on the same grounds, they provide two completely different services for two unique groups.

If you or your family member are considering retirement, it’s essential that you know the difference.


Perfect for: Seniors who want to live independently or semi-independently, while being close to other like-minded people.

Retirement villages are residential complexes designed for people aged 55 and older who want to live more communally. They generally comprise single-level or low-rise units, and sometimes include townhouses and detached homes designed for seniors as well. The grounds are usually landscaped and include a range of recreational facilities like bowling greens, community halls, gardens and exercise facilities.

These facilities offer residents the chance to live independently in their own unit or home, while being a part of a larger community and having access to health, leisure and support services as needed. Generally, residents in retirement villages aren’t dependant on staff for everyday essentials, but access to washing, cleaning, cooking and other services makes their lives easier. The decision to move into a retirement village is often made based on lifestyle factors, like the desire for a connection with like-minded people and amenities. These facilities are usually privately owned and can be quite expensive.


Perfect for: Seniors who need daily personal assistance and cannot live alone.

The residents of aged care facilities are generally not able to live independently and need support with personal care, medication and meals. To move into such a facility, the resident must be evaluated by an aged-care assessment team who will decide whether the level of care is necessary for their circumstances.

These facilities are heavily subsidised and regulated by the federal government, making them considerably cheaper than most residential retirement villages. Aged care facilities are sometimes on the same grounds as retirement villages, so that residents can easily transition between the two as the need arises.


If you or your parents are reaching the stage where you’re considering aged care or a retirement village, it’s always best to make the decision early and put a plan in place. Keep a close eye on yourself (or your parent) so that you can be sure you get the correct level of care, while maintaining the best possible lifestyle.

After 50 odd years of hard work, retirement should be as easy and enjoyable as possible. Choosing the right facility for yourself or your family member is the first step to making sure the golden years are spent where you’ll be most comfortable, looked after and happy.