Showing posts with label Serviced apartments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Serviced apartments. Show all posts

Sunday, November 6, 2016


We look at some of the health benefits of moving into a retirement village.

1. Social connections

Living in a retirement community provides endless opportunities to develop close social connections and friendships. This becomes increasingly important as we get older and face a variety of life events that could trigger loneliness and isolation. The variety of social activities at retirement communities also plays a large role in mental stimulation. Informal games are readily available and fun activities and events like movie-nights, yoga lessons, weekly socials, and more are at the reach of seniors.

2. The end of home maintenance and repair

Freedom from home maintenance and repair becomes more and more attractive during senior years. The idea of fixing unanticipated, and often costly, problems that occur in a home can carry a lot of stress. By making the move to an independent senior living community, the cost associated with home problems is eliminated. Often, most repair and maintenance is included in your living arrangement.
The cost of moving into a retirement community can also prove to be more economical. Downsizing from your current home will allow you to reign in your monthly expenses and remove the responsibility of maintaining your home. Using a cost calculator can help you estimate how much you may save. Moving into a retirement community can also offer an opportunity to determine which of your possessions are important to you, rather than leaving this task to others.

3. Ensured safety and proper nutrition 

There are many residents living with us in our independent senior living communities who used to be alone, and who were not eating properly. Residents do not need to worry about meal preparation or even grocery shopping. Another benefit—the food is delicious, and chef-prepared! So not only are seniors enjoying mealtime more, but they also tend to notice improvements in their health by eating three quality meals each day. From pleasant housekeepers, to attentive servers at mealtime, and helpful maintenance technicians who are there when you need those, Holiday Retirement communities are the new extension of your family. We're here to make your life easier in any way we can. 

4. May help you live longer

A Swedish study found that following a healthy lifestyle - being sociable, physically active and participating in leisure activities - could add up to five years to women's lives and six years to men's. "Encouraging favourable lifestyle behaviours even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity," concluded the authors.
Which is great news as all Bupa retirement villages offer a range of daily activities and communal areas where residents can be social and physically active.

5. Help you be healthier

Retirement villages offer a range of activities from movie screenings, bingo games, gardening programs and regular outings. Which may be good news for your health. According to research conducted at Rush University Medical Center, higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled. It was found that a person who reported a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of a disability.

6. Hobbies can help make you healthy

When you move in to a retirement village, we go to great lengths to encourage and support you to continue on with your hobbies or start a new one which may be beneficial to your health. A study by Columbia University, New York, found that engaging in hobbies such as arts and crafts, music and reading could help reduce the effects of stress-related diseases and slow down cognitive decline.

7. Ready made friends

A retirement village can provide you with a ready-made circle of friends. Studies have found that as we get older it's important for our overall health to maintain and make friendships. Not only can it help you live longer, but if you do fall ill, it can help you recover quicker.

8. Onsite support

Knowing that a health professional is nearby can help put your and your family’s mind at ease, especially as we get older and are more susceptible for falls or becoming ill. Retirement village living is a positive way to help you stay happy and healthy during your later years.


Life in a retirement village is like living in a resort, and residents should expect to pay the price.
With an ageing population, it's boom time for the industry, with retirement villages popping up all over.

The house price boom in cities like Auckland has also been a boon to village operators as the prices charged for their units are set in reference to the prices of local homes.
But moving into a retirement village is not the same as owning your own home.
On the upside, people get to move into a ready-made community of like-minded people, with pleasant communal land and facilities, and an instant feeling of safety.
The downside is that in the vast majority of villages, residents don't own the units they move into, buying only the right to live there. Ownership remains with the village owner, and the Occupation Rights Agreement (ORA) residents have to sign before moving in, spells out not only their rights, but also their responsibilities.

Because of the complexity of the agreements, residents have to get legal advice before signing up to them, and there can be big differences between the terms different villages offer.
ORAs spell out how different retirement village living is from living in your own home.

Residents don't own the units they live in, they can't sell them, and a resident can't sell on their own occupation rights without permission. By contrast, the village operator can sell the village without permission from residents, although the new owner has to honour existing ORAs.
Should a resident decide to leave, or dies, the village markets for a new resident to occupy the vacated unit. The vacating resident, or their estate, usually gets paid the amount they paid to get in, minus a "deferred management fee" of about 30 per cent, which is a major income source for the village operators.

If you own your own home, capital gains belong to you and falls in price make you poorer. If a resident leaves a retirement village, occupation rights to the unit they vacated can be sold for more than they paid, but the village operator gets the benefit.
Some villages expect vacating residents to shoulder falls in price. If you buy your occupation right for $300,000, and there is a 30 per cent deferred maintenance fee, then you, or your estate, should get back $210,000. But should the ORA now be worth $250,000, then the exit payment would be just $170,000.
As Christchurch's Archer Village's ORA puts it: "If the amount we are able to obtain from a proposed new resident . . . is less than the entry payment, then we may ask you to accept this reduced amount in writing."

Residents pay the ordinary costs of running a village, including maintenance, staffing costs, insurance, rates and utility bills. In effect, the resident is swapping paying outgoings on their own home for paying a share of the outgoings on the village.
The ongoing fees, sometimes called the "village outgoings payment", can sometimes rise, but are sometimes fixed, depending on the village. They are generally charged monthly, and continue to be payable even after a resident leaves, or dies, and until new occupation rights for the unit is sold.
Sometimes the obligation is unlimited, and could go on for years, albeit at a reduced rate. Sometimes it's limited to six months.

The village operator organises the insurance for the village, but the resident pays for it. It's there to repair or rebuild the facility in the case of events like fire or earthquake, or at best, pay residents back the amount they paid for their occupation rights, though that may not be enough for them to buy occupation rights in another village, if prices have risen.
Some villages carry insurance that provides some temporary accommodation cover, such as Metlifecare villages. Others do not, which would mean residents would need to have their own insurance to cover that.
A resident whose carelessness causes a fire or flooding can often be required to pay the excess on the claim to fix the damage they inadvertently caused.

Pets are allowed only at the absolute discretion of the village operator in most cases, and even when permission is given, it can be withdrawn at any time. This can be like a Sword of Damocles hanging over little Tiddles' head should they annoy other residents.
In your own home, within the law, you can do just what you like. You can walk around in your underwear, experiment with chemicals, paint murals on the walls, put up shelves, etc.
Retirement village rules require residents to get permission to make alterations, which likely as not the operator will make for them, charging the costs to the unit occupier. There can be rules banning drying clothes on the balcony, or putting things on them that make the village look scruffy.
Serious breaches like threatening a fellow resident can lead to occupation rights being terminated.

Unlike in your own home, there are limits on friends and relatives coming to stay. Usually fairly permissive, the rules are designed to stop villages becoming doss-houses for non-residents.
Residents can't sublease the units without permission. If love strikes late in life, single residents will usually be allowed to move their new love in. This can be subject to provisos.
At Auckland's Hillsborough Heights, owned by listed village operator Metlifecare, married, or de facto partners can move in if they meet the "normal criteria", and must sign a "deed of covenant" agreeing to follow the rules.

While relatively few people have a right of entry to a home you own, and then usually in very limited circumstances, such as police with a warrant, village operators have rights of entry.
These are usually with reasonable notice, but they can be without notice, if they deem there is a reason pressing enough such as a fire, or medical emergency.

Villages often offer several levels of care, starting in self-contained units, with residents able to move on to nursing care if it becomes difficult to look after themselves.
Operators have the right to require a resident undergo a health check if they consider them unsafe to live there any more, and terminate their occupation rights, if they are. The resident has a right to get a second opinion.

If a resident develops dementia, or suddenly dies, it can pose difficulties for a village operator. Because of this, ORAs require residents have a will and also enduring powers of attorney, which allow others (usually family) to administer their affairs when they are no longer able to.
As the ORA of the Aparangi Village in Waikato says, residents need to keep the operator informed of the names and contact details of executors and attorneys.

As businesses, retirement village operators often expand their facilities to be able to sell more units and earn more fees. ORAs ban residents from raising objections to this with planning authorities.

ORAs are not a one-way street. They impose obligations on the village operator to do things like adequately staff, maintain and insure villages, although these are also legal requirements, and to provide certain services such as access to medical help.
In their own homes, owners usually do not have anyone but themselves and their families to rely on in these areas.

 - Sunday Star Times

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cost to live in a retirement village

Tips for choosing a retirement village

Don’t rush it! We’re more likely to choose the right retirement village if we don't make a quick decision:

  • Think ahead and consider what we might need in the future – will we be able to continue to live there if our health or mobility declines?
  • Imagine the ideal lifestyle in a retirement village, and make a list of the things that are most important.
  • Visit different villages and find out about the lifestyles they offer, including housing options, facilities and services.
  • Talk to the residents – they know better than anyone what life is like in the village they live in.
  • Take time to read the documentation associated with buying into, living and leaving the village, including the disclosure statement and occupation right agreement.
  • Find out the total costs. How much is payable on entry? What are the ongoing expenses? Will we share in any capital gain when we leave? Will we have to pay for any capital loss? How will these affect our future and the choices we have?
  • Get independent financial advice from a financial planner or accountant with experience in retirement villages.
  • Get independent legal advice from a lawyer with experience in retirement villages. Ask them about the different legal titles and what they mean.
  • Involve family or friends in the decision.

Fees & Charges

Entering retirement can often enable you to get into a new home that is suited to your lifestyle at an affordable price.

A unique advantage of retirement village living is, in many cases, the ability to defer a large part of the cost until after you leave a village, which for most people is well after they have a need for significant financial resources.  This is a major benefit of retirement living.

There are many different models and, as with any decision of this type, you should consult your financial advisor, accountant or lawyer before making any decision so as to ensure you fully understand the costs and structure of any agreement entered into. Involving your family in the decision is also a good idea.

To be sure that retirement living is for you, it’s very important to be clear about your current financial circumstances.

You need to be aware of three different types of costs before deciding to live in a retirement village. These include:

  • The entry fee or purchase price
  • The service or maintenance fees
  • The exit fee, also known as a departure fee or deferred management fee.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Frequently Ask Questions About Retirement Village in Auckland New Zealand

Questions About Retirement Village You May Be Wondering Right Now

Q: “What do I ‘own’ when I purchase a Retirement village unit?”

You do not own the unit, or the land. You own a licence to occupy the unit and enjoy the common areas. You have purchased

the right to live there for your life time. There are conditions on these licences and rights. Namely, if you misbehave,

you can be evicted. So the days of wearing nothing but your underpants whilst you garden are behind you.

Q: “Can I get a mortgage?”

No. There are no mortgages. You'll need to pay the full amount before moving in.

Q: “If I purchase the unit for $200,000 today, what is it worth in 10 years time?”

The same amount. The value of the unit is frozen on the day you purchased it. A 20% - 30% fee will be deducted from this

amount, and the amount left over will be paid into your estate. This fee is sometimes called an "amenities fee", or

"facilities fee", or "village contribution".

Q: “What is the weekly cost of staying in a retirement village?”

Typically the weekly fee ranges from $100 - $150.  You can expect this fee to cover rates, insurances, power. Most likely

you will have to pay separately for your own telephone and things such as maintenance of the interior (eg vacuuming). Some

retirement villages provide meals, a hairdresser, a workshop with powertools, gym, bowling green, swimming pool etc.

Q: “When I die, does my family get the value of the unit straight away?”

No. The unit needs to be sold to another person first before your capital is freed up. A 20% - 30% fee will be deducted


Q: “Does my family have to pay to restore the unit to as-new condition?”

They will not be invoiced for deterioration to the interior that has occurred during normal wear and tear. For example,

your carpet wearing thin (this is a new rule since 2008). But anything such as spilt wine on the carpet or smoking damage

will result in a charge. For contracts made prior to 2008 the managers of the complex can refit the unit to brand-new

condition with a new kitchen, bathroom etc, and send your family the invoice.

Q: “Can I leave before I die?”

Yes, but it's an expensive way to go. Once the unit is sold to someone new, you will be reimbursed the amount you invested less the fees (20-30%).

 The 8 main benefits of moving into a Retirement Village

  1. The security of a gated community
  2. Someone else manages repairs and maintenance issues
  3. Your neighbours are just like you (eg you’re unlikely to have to call noise control to get loud music turned down)
  4. Help is moments away if you have an emergency
  5. Fixed costs are easier to budget for
  6. If you go on holiday, it’s easy to arrange your mail, pot plant care etc
  7. Your children feel more comfortable that you’re now in a safe environment
  8. You can free up capital from selling your home for recreation and travel

Retirement Village Lifestyle Checklist | Financial Checklist | Signing up checklist

1. Retirement Village Lifestyle Checklist

The information in this checklist is based on the Retirement Villages Act 2003. 

Things to do

 1. Write a list of the most important things you want from retirement village living. 
2.Talk to residents about how they find living in the village. 
3. Get a copy of the village’s occupation right agreement, disclosure statement and any other relevant documents. 
4. Involve your family or friends in your decision. 

Questions to ask


  1. Make sure you understand how the village operates.
  2. Is the village commercial or not-for-profit?
  3. What is the village’s philosophy regarding the care and support of older people?
  4. Is the village a member of the Retirement Villages Association or the New Zealand Aged
  5. Care Association? If so, what benefits does this provide?
  6. Who manages the village and how are they appointed? Is there a management agreement and when is it renewed?
  7. Is there an onsite manager and what rules must they follow?
  8. Is there a staff member onsite or on call?
  9. What experience do management and staff have in meeting the needs of older people, and what are their qualifications?
  10. Who is the statutory supervisor and what is their role? (Some villages are exempt from having a statutory supervisor.

Entry criteria

  1. What are the criteria for living at the village, and do you meet them?
  2. Is there a waiting list? 


In addition to the usual location issues when buying a house, there are other issues to consider when moving into a retirement village. The location will determine how much independence and contact with the wider community you’ll have.
  1. Is the village separate from or in integrated into the local community?
  2. Is the village close to friends and family?
  3. Is it close to medical services including hospitals?
  4. What public and village transport is available, and how much does it cost?
  5. Will the location allow you to keep up your existing interests, such as place of worship and clubs?
  6. Is the village situated on the flat? 

    Villages or units not yet constructed or completed.

    If you’re buying off the plans: 

    1. Are the units and facilities designed for older people? 
    2. Will they be finished to the expected quality? 
    3. Can you build to your own design and choose your d├ęcor, furnishings and appliances? 
    4. What is the proposed completion date for your unit? What right do you have to cancel or to compensation if there is a delay in completion of the unit or other facilities? 
    5. If you’re buying into a village where other units or facilities are still being built: 
    6. What measures are taken to reduce disruption to residents during construction? 
    7. Who pays for the rates, insurance and maintenance of units that are unsold? 
    8. How long will it take for advertised services or facilities to start operating? What rights do you have if these services or facilities do not eventuate? 
    9. How will future development plans affect your unit or the facilities?

Residential and care options

  1. Are there different housing options available, such as independent self-care villas and serviced apartments or studios? 
  2. Are there rest home and hospital facilities? 
  3. Who decides whether you need a higher level of care either within or outside the village? 
  4. How is this decision made? 
  5. Do residents have priority for these facilities and can you return to a more independent unit if you recover . 
  6. Is temporary help available during a short-term illness or accident, such as a fall or ongoing care after a stroke? 


  1. Will the healthcare offered meet your existing and future needs?  
  2.  Can you negotiate the level of healthcare and its cost?  
  3. Are you allowed to have your own doctor?
  4.  Are you able to use other service providers at the village e.g. DHB personal care services?  
  5. Are services such as a doctor, dentist or ph ysiotherapist available within the village or nearby?
  6.   Is there a qualified nurse onsite? When are they there? Where is the nearest hospital? Does the unit have a medical call button? 


  1.  Are the units, grounds and facilities in good order and how are they maintained?
  2.  Who arranges for repairs and maintenance such as leaks or changing light bulbs?  
  3. What are the timeframes for urgent maintenance?
  4.  Is there a long-term maintenance plan for big items such as re-roofing, painting or road works?
  5. Who is responsible for updating installed appliances? 


  1.  Are there burglar alarms, sm oke alarms and sprinklers?  
  2. Is there sensor lighting? Are there 24-hour call buttons? 
  3. Who answers th ese calls and how quickly?
  4.  What does it cost? Can windows and doors be securely locked?
  5.  Are gates locked at night? Is the village patrolled at night? 

Facilities and amenities

Facilities may include shops, lounges, dining rooms and bars, libraries, hobby rooms, workshops and computer rooms, meeting rooms, gardens, swimming pools, spas, saunas, gyms and bowling greens.

  1. What facilities are provided an d are you likely to use them?
  2.  Are there restrictions on using the facilities, such as the number of people or whether visitors or outside groups can use them?  
  3. Are new facilities planned and when will they be completed? 


 Services may include a registered nurse availa ble 24 hours or a doctor on call, housework, laundry, gardening and lawns, and rubbish collect ion, meals, personal care such as help with dressing and bathing, mail collection, watering indoor plants and feeding pets when on holiday, and transport such as a vi llage van for shopping and outings.

  1.  What services does the retirement village provide?  
  2.  What services are contracted in by the village?  
  3.  Are you eligible for some of these services through government assistance? 

Social activities

 Social activities may include shopping trips, ga rden visits, walks and pi cnics or trips to the movies or theater as well as clubs such as chess or bridge and keep-fit classes. In some villages, the residents organize these activities.

  1. What activities does the retirement village offer? 
  2. Who organizes them? 


  1. Check the location of telephones, power points and switches, medical call buttons and lighting. Is there adequate lighting, heating and ventilation in the unit and communal areas? 
  2. Are taps and handles easy to use?
  3.  Is there easy access to the shower and grab gr ips and non-slip surfaces in the toilet and bathroom? 
  4.  Are cupboards and shelves within easy reach, and benches and ovens at a suitable height? Is the unit likely to meet your future needs as well as your current needs? 
  5. Can you make any modifications to suit your needs? 
  6. What facilities are personally allocated to you, such as car parking and storage? 


  1.  Is there wheelchair and walking-aid access in the village and within the units? 
  2. Are there handrails where needed?
  3.  Can you use a scooter in the village? 
  4. Where are they stored? 


  1.  What are the village rules?  
  2. Can they change and how does that happen?
  3.   Do residents have a say in the rules? 

  Resident involvement

  1. Are there meetings between residents and management, and how often?
  2.  Is there a residents’ committee and what is its role? How is the AGM organised and how can residents get involved?
  3.   Is there a village noticeboard or newsletter, and how often is it updated or published?
  4.   Talk to residents about how they find living at the village. Ask them about having input into how the village operates and the attitu de of management to their involvement. 


  1. How does the village deal with complaints?  
  2. How are complaints lodged?
  3. Who manages the complaints process and what is the response time? 
  4.  Can you or the village management involve someone independent if your complaint cannot be resolved? 

Leaving the village or transferring within the village

  1.  In what circumstances can you be made to leave or to transfer to a higher level of care?  
  2. Who makes this decision and what say do you have? 

2. Retirement Village Financial Checklist

The information in this checklist is based on the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
 Things to do
  1.  Contact an independent financial adviser or accountant who is experienced in retirement villages. Talk to them about th e costs involved and what you can afford.  
  2. Think about how much money you might need for housing or care if you choose or need to leave the village, or you wish to leave a legacy.  
  3.  Ensure you make realistic arrangements that suit your financial situation.
  4.  Ask the operator for a copy of the village’s disclosure statement, occupation right agreement and any other relevant documents and make sure you understand them.  
  5.  Make sure you get any verbal agreements in writing, or have them written into your occupation right agreement. 

The financial viability of the village

You’ll need to be confident that the village is financially viable – if it isn’t, it won’t be able to provide you with the accommodation, facilities and services you’re paying for.
  1. Who owns the village and what is their reputation? 
  2.   Are the village’s financial accounts stand-al one or combined with another village or business?  
  3. What does the village’s insurance cover an d what are the premiums and excesses?  
  4. What are your rights if the village gets into financial difficulty?  
  5. Who is the statutory supervisor?  
  6. What is their role? 

Entry costs

  1.  What is the entry cost?  
  2.  What does this cost cover?
  3.   How long is the ‘cooling-off’ period? 

 Ongoing costs

  1.  How much are the ongoing fees? What do they cover and how are they calculated?  
  2.  What costs do you pay in addition to the regular fees?Also, ask who pays for normal outgoings such as rates, insurance, telephone and power. 
  3.   Are there any limits to how much and how often fees can be raised or changed?
  4.   What is the village’s policy for passing on increased costs?  
  5. Can you defer payment of some charges until you leave the village? If so, what interest is charged on these deferred payments? 
  6.   Do you pay these fees if you’re on holiday or in hospital?
  7.  Do the fees change if the number of people in your unit changes? 

 Costs of transferring within the village

  1.  Do you have to sell the existing unit before moving to a different one?
  2.  Do you have to continue to pay village fees on the original unit until it sells, as well as on the new one?  
  3. Do you have to pay further entry costs when moving to a new unit within the village as you did on entering the village? 

Leaving costs (these questions are also relevant if transferring within the village)
  1.  How is the unit sold? Can you participate in the sale?  
  2. Can you live in the unit or rent it out while it’s on the market?
  3.   What ongoing fees will you have to pay while the unit is on the market, and for how long?
  4. Does the unit need to be refurbished before it goes on the market, and to what standard? 
  5.   Are there deductions from the original purchase price or actual sale price for refurbishment, marketing or administrative costs?  
  6. Will you be reimbursed for improvements you’ve made, and how are these valued? Will you get the capital gain or any share of it?  
  7.  When do you get paid what is due to you? 
  8. What happens if there are significant delays? 

3.Retirement Village Signing up checklist

The information in this checklist is based on the Retirement Villages Act 2003.

Things to do

Get a quote or estimate for hiring an independent lawyer, who is experienced in retirement villages, to carry out the legal work for buying into a village.

This will cost more than the legal fees for buying a house because it is more complex, but will be worth it in the long run.

Make sure the village manager has given you all the necessary documents. 

This will include:

  1.     Occupation right agreement
  2.     Disclosure statement
  3.     Code of Residents’ Rights
  4.     Code of Practice

  1. Keep a written note of verbal assurances that are given or promises that are made. Ask the village manager or your lawyer to in corporate these in the occupation right agreement.  
  2. Have the lawyer explain the occupation right agreement in a way that you understand before you sign it. This is a requirement under the Act. Make sure you go over any areas you’re unsure of in greater detail, and check that the agreement includes all the things agreed to. Make sure the lawyer witnesses yo ur signature and certifies that they have done this.  
  3. Keep copies of these documents and any advertising or promotional material. 

 Other things to consider  

  1.  Use this time to review your will and prepar e an enduring power of attorney. There are two types of enduring power of attorney – one for your personal care and welfare and one for property. Do not appoint an yone associated with the village.  
  2. If you have a family trust, find out if it ca n enter into an occupation agreement. If not, find out whether the trust can still pay the pu rchase price and if a payment like this is allowed under your family trust deed.