Census reveals how seniors are living

Seniors Surveyed: Dubbo seniors Barbara O'Brien OAM, Cheryl Tomkin, Grace Brinckley OAM, Lorraine Schobel, Elizabeth Moxham and Keith Farrands.
Seniors Surveyed: Dubbo seniors Barbara O'Brien OAM, Cheryl Tomkin, Grace Brinckley OAM, Lorraine Schobel, Elizabeth Moxham and Keith Farrands.

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THE AVERAGE age of new residents moving into retirement villages has risen to 75, with a growing number of Aussie seniors choosing to downsize.

That's according to the Property Council's 2016 Retirement Census, the largest annual snapshot of data and trends in the retirement living sector, which showed strong occupancy rates a continuing shift to an older resident. The average age of new residents has risen to 75 (from 74 last year), while the average age of current residents is 80, according to the figures.

Planning for the future: President of the CPSA of NSW Grace Brinckley OAM discusses life after retirement with Joan Teale and Wilma Ryan.

Planning for the future: President of the CPSA of NSW Grace Brinckley OAM discusses life after retirement with Joan Teale and Wilma Ryan.

Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said the census shows retirement villages are growing in popularity "and are an affordable downsizing proposition that provide real lifestyle and health benefits to residents". Mr Morrison said the survey does indicate there were challenges ahead for the sector including housing availability for seniors and outdated housing stock.

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Bracken House

"One of the challenges is to ensure we get attractive seniors housing in all parts of our major cities, and not just on the urban fringe. This is vital so that residents can live close to their communities and families," he said.

"As well, the average village age is 24 years old, and many villages are approaching a stage where significant redevelopment will be required."

Other findings include:

  • 65 per cent of village residents are female;
  • 60 per cent of units are occupied by single residents, 40 per cent by couples;
  • The average current tenure of residents is 7 years;
  • The average monthly service fee charged by village operators is $409 (less than a quarter of the full base age pension for singles);
  • The average cost of a two-bedroom retirement village unit is $398,000, up from $385,000 last year;
  • 26 per cent of villages reported co-located aged care or aged care within 500 metres of the village.
Aged care: Retirement villages are growing in popularity.

Aged care: Retirement villages are growing in popularity.