Ageing in place… Family Home vs Village Home
Changes to the Government care scheme are on the way, and consumers will soon need to start making decisions about how they allocate their funding allowance. In other words, which services they require and who they want to provide these services.
This development brings with it a push towards more, and higher care, services being delivered at home. Ageing in Place statistics show that most senior Australians want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, and why wouldn’t they! So the question then is ‘What’s the difference between receiving these services in my family home and receiving them while living in a retirement village?
It’s a good question because now, and even more so from next year, people will be able to access the same level of care in their family home as they can in a retirement village. However, there are a few differences to note. Let’s talk about the three main ones – cost, delivery and social needs.
1) Cost of Care: It is more cost effective to receive care in a retirement village setting than in your family home. This is because the care provider can supply services to more people in one location and there are efficiencies created (including travel, scheduling and administrative) then when the same care is provided into the wider community.
2) Delivery of Care Services: The effectiveness of delivery can be enhanced or hindered by your style of accommodation. For example, a retirement village is usually purpose built to support retirees as they age including such things as larger door frames, open plan living areas, ramps instead of stairs etc. Villa layouts include many design features to enhance livability and comfort for seniors, and are particularly designed to function well when services are being delivered. A family home, even low set, typically has a number of stairs such as those that lead up to the front door or out to the backyard etc. Door frames, bathrooms, and hallways can be narrow and not suitable for walkers or a person who is assisting another.
3) Social Needs: While cost and delivery of services are practical components of this topic, long term social needs should also be considered. Ensuring our emotional and psychological needs continue to be met as human beings is increasingly presenting as a problem amongst our aged community. Staying in the family home can often exacerbate this real issue of social isolation.
Retirement Villages are communities of like-minded people which are usually conveniently located to major amenities such as shopping and lifestyle centres, health and wellness facilities, entertainment, transport etc. But, more importantly, they also provide a host of services and activities within the village itself, only a short walk or scooter ride from each dwelling. More often than not, the family home is not located in a position of such convenience and particularly if it becomes necessary to relinquish car ownership.
Ageing in place is important, especially when there’s no place like home. The challenge is deciding on where to make ‘home’ and finding somewhere that meets your wants and needs, now and in the future.