William Crowley is the Operations Manager of Retirement Living for The Salvation Army Aged Care. With over 30 years of experience across the aged care industry, William brings a wealth of knowledge to our services, and most importantly, to our Retirement Living residents. If you're considering moving into a Retirement Village, this article is for you. William sits with us to share his insights into why people leave retirement planning so late, the advantages of planning ahead, what to look for in a Retirement Village, and what Retirement Living options we offer.

Why do you think people leave planning for retirement so late?

A move to a Retirement Village is often viewed as something you do if you are sick or old. You may not want to be in a Retirement Village full of old people - it's easy make these generalisations before visiting to see the vibrancy of the community where residents are engaged with a wide range of activities.

Residents at our Retirement Villages enjoy friendship and companionship, which is often missing in a suburban setting as the demographic landscape changes and neighbours move on to be replaced by young working families.

Retirees are often motivated to consider a move to a Retirement Village after a health scare or the loss of a spouse or partner. They don't usually consider the risks that may be associated with living at home, which ultimately could lead to moving directly into residential care.

In our Retirement Villages, we take care of the building maintenance, gardens and even cleaning and personal care delivered direct to a resident's home if needed. On many occasions after undertaking a tour of the Retirement Village with a potential resident, I've been told, "I love the unit but I'm not ready yet". Moving house is exhausting whether you are 56 or 76 years old and its best to plan ahead so you have control over the choices and services you need and want to enjoy.

Many people do not realise that most Retirement Villages operate from a waiting list so securing a unit of your choice may take time to realise. Leaving a family home with over 30 years of memories is always hard, however you may be unlocking incredible capital by selling your home and moving to a Retirement Village with all the latest facilities and services.

What are the advantages of planning ahead?

Most importantly, by planning ahead you take control of your future. You have the time to choose the right Retirement Village for you based on your needs, rather than whatever is available at the time.

You'll have the time to make informed choices as you compare the accommodation and services available in a number of Retirement Villages. When you have time on your side, you can even take the first step by placing your name on a waiting list without worries of needing immediate accommodation.

Planning ahead also provides time for you to declutter your house and prepare it for sale. With many years of memories, this task is never to be underestimated, especially if you need to organise help from friends and family members.

Financial planning is another important task that you'll have time to do. In most cases, you will be unlocking the capital in your home. Pension considerations need to be examined carefully as well. You can also carefully choose the best real estate agent and removalist without rushing decisions.

Family members often like to be a part of the journey of your move. You might want to arrange time to discuss the future with them, what's most important to you, and how you see the next ten years of your life unfolding.

What should people look for when looking for a Retirement Village?

Look at Retirement Villages that are close to your existing networks, for example, your local community, health services, your favourite social spots, and where your closest family and friends live. Also look for Retirement Villages that offer services that will help you maintain your independence in the future.

Access to public transport or transport provided by the Retirement Village is very important to ensure you can access the entertainment and services you choose. A great starting point is to write a list of activities you enjoy or interests that you might like to reignite, and see if the Retirement Village offers these activities. Talk to the residents in the Retirement Village, as it's the best way to gain a true understanding of life in there. Make several visits to the Retirement Village and don't be afraid to compare facilities, services and activities.

All Retirement Village are different and you need choose the one that suits you best. While we don't usually like to think about needing a higher level of care, it's an important consideration. Especially if you have a partner, it's important to check if the Retirement Village is collocated with residential services, or if residential aged care centre is close by to your village of choice.

People living in a Retirement Village will on average enter residential care seven years later than people living in their home. This is because accidents and feelings of isolation are dramatically reduced in a Retirement Village, because ongoing independence and well being is supported and prioritised.

What Retirement Living options do the Salvos offer?

We offer a range of affordable units across several vibrant Retirement Villages. These villages are conveniently located in well-established areas with access to Home and Community Care Services.

Our Retirement Villages are all co-located with a Residential Care Service, which means that respite care is always available. This offers peace of mind knowing that if your health or care needs ever change, you won't need to move away from your Retirement Village community, as your friends and neighbours will still be part of your life.

All our Retirement Village offer a range of activities to entertain residents with bus trips always popular as residents explore historic places of interest or take advantage of the many arts and cultural events and shows that are playing. Accommodation ranges from studio budget accommodation through to 2 and 3 bedroom units, all designed to foster your independence and ensure you stay safe and supported.

Each Retirement Village has an emergency call system so that in the event of an emergency medical assistance can be called on. Our village management team will ensure someone is always available to speak with you, and importantly they take responsibility for all maintenance and the grounds and gardens.

Our team takes care of the hard work so that you have more time to enjoy your retirement interests. Birthdays are celebrated and with a community at the Retirement Village, there is always a group of residents that share the same interests, such as reading, playing cards, dancing or even tai chi. An essential component of all our Retirement Villages is access to a Salvation Army Chaplain who works with the Retirement Village team to ensure residents feel valued as individuals and secure in their homes.

If you have any questions, or would like to chat with me or a member of our Retirement Living team, I encourage you to give us a call on 1300 111 227 during business hours. We'd love to hear from you!