Younger retirees prioritise social spaces and security over nanna naps and games of bingo

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Wendy Bunyan and Trish Phillips enjoy living at Noyea Riverside Retirement Village at Mount Warren Park. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Hanging out for happy hour, perving on pool boys and ditching housework – this is the lifestyle over 55s are looking for in Queensland.

A new generation of younger retirees are prioritising social spaces, security, and access to shopping precincts over nanna naps and games of bingo, and retirement developments across Queensland are rising to the challenge.

Research carried out for national retirement village developer RetireAustralia, shows Australia’s post-war baby boomers have a sophisticated set of needs, with men setting different priorities to women.

And with the number of senior Australians set to double in the next 30 years, accommodating these needs is becoming a top priority.

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The Resolution Research shows men prioritise support, such as housekeeping and meals, for improved independence and better enjoyment of life when deciding on a village, while women see opportunities for socialising and activities as more important.

Resolution Research director Diana Howes said the industry-based research revealed there were both similarities and differences in the drivers of demand for post-war retirees and their baby boomer counterparts looking to make the move into a vertical retirement village.

“Both cohorts are, in the main, looking to increase their levels of social engagement while removing the onerous responsibilities of home maintenance from their lives,” Ms Howes said.  

“Women are more driven by social engagement and activities than men – 92 per cent of women nominated this in the top five primary drivers to move into a retirement village, compared with 75 per cent of men.”

Remaining within their current community is shown to be universally important with 87 per cent of all respondents nominating this as one of their top criteria in the decision making process.

Property Council of Australia’s retirement living executive director Ben Myers said about 5.5 per cent of all Australians aged 65 and over live in a retirement village.

“With the number of senior Australians set to double in the next 30 years, the retirement living industry is experiencing significant challenges in obtaining appropriate land, obtaining planning approvals and working with an unstable regulatory framework to generate the supply needed to meet the demand of this growing population,” Mr Myers said.

“A big benefit of independent retirement living, as distinct from aged care, is the strong focus on forging social connection and lifestyle, which goes well beyond the village and extends into local communities.”

Top five things retirees desire


1- Security for the village and for individual apartments 97%

2- Village bus connecting to retail, dining, sporting and medical facilities in the

broader community 95%

3- Resident’s bar 92%

4- Community dining spaces which support a variety of needs from formal dining

rooms to alfresco cafés and barbecue spaces 91%

5- Open green spaces for passive pursuits including quiet contemplation,

reading and peaceful enjoyment of outdoor space 89%

Source: Resolution Research

Wendy Bunyan and Trish Phillips at Noyea Riverside Retirement Village. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Since moving to RetireAustralia’s Noyea Riverside Retirement Village at Mt Warren Park, Trish Phillips and Wendy Bunyan are two active seniors who can be seen on any given day taking part in a friendly game of tennis, bowls or darts, having a dip in the pool in the warmer months or enjoying Friday night happy hour in the village bar and lounge.

The pair are also often out and about – shopping, sightseeing, visiting the neighbouring RSL or off travelling the world.

It’s a lifestyle neither imagined prior to joining the Noyea Riverside community at Mt Warren.

“It’s the best move I could’ve ever made for myself,” said Mrs Bunyan, 68, who moved in four years ago.

“My husband passed away when I was 61 and I knew I had to go somewhere like this to have a life – somewhere that had plenty of things to do and ways to have fun.

“It’s a completely different change of life for me. I’d never played bowls, tennis or darts before. My kids think I’m nuts to play tennis at 6.30am but that’s how much I enjoy it.”

Trish, 71, moved to Noyea six years ago and also enjoys the active lifestyle as well as the

like-minded community, many of whom are friends from her “prior life”.

“My kids love seeing the happiness and stress-free life I’m living,” she said.

“You can do as little or as much as you like. And you have your own pool boy and

gardeners.

“People shouldn’t wait until they’re really old to move into a retirement village, they should

move in as soon as they can – they can ease back on the housework and just enjoy life.

“You haven’t got time for fun when you’re trying to maintain a big house in the suburbs.”

The pet-friendly village hosts regular events and activities, with onsite facilities including a

community centre, croquet green, putting green, swimming pool and spa, tennis court, bowls

green, billiards table, table tennis, arts and crafts area and gym.

Meanwhile on the Sunshine Coast, The Avenue Maroochydore, a new retirement village has attracted retirees to its open plan two and three-bedroom apartments.

The new community is also home to state-of-the-art facilities including a wine room, gym, internal courtyard with outdoor barbecue area and billiards room and bar, while still encouraging residents to make the most of local amenities like bowling greens, golf clubs, yoga studios and cinemas.

RetireAustralia chief executive officer Dr Brett Robinson said the latest research supported the feedback received from residents and potential buyers across the company’s existing and future communities.

“Extensive research is carried out as part of the planning stage for every one of our

retirement communities including our new vertical retirement villages, Fancutts

Retirement Living in Brisbane and The Verge at Burleigh Golf Club on the Gold

Coast,” Dr Robinson said.

“Seniors are more active than ever before and are seeking age-appropriate housing

options that will enable them to lead fulfilling, adventurous and healthy lifestyles as

they age.”

RetireAustralia’s The Verge at Burleigh will offer residents a coastal lifestyle combined with access to one of the Coast’s most popular golf clubs.

And residents at The Verge, co-located with Burleigh Golf Club, will have the opportunity to access club facilities right on their doorstep, or they can take advantage of the rooftop terrace and bar or onsite wellness hub with a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor activity areas, salon and cafe.

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