National survey shows retirement village residents happier than their peers

The majority (84 per cent) of retirement village residents are happy with their life today – higher than those who stayed in the family home in the last five years, according to new research from the National Village Survey 2018. 

Carried out by market research firm Australia Online Research (AOR) in January, the survey looked at 19,477 residents across 529 villages. It found a quarter (25 per cent) said their life has significantly improved while over half (52 per cent) said their happiness had increased.  

Why is this the case? 

The survey showed the main factors for buying into a retirement village are the same as they always have been – being able to downsize while physically able (63 per cent); the family home becoming difficult to manage (39 per cent); and concern about future health (36 per cent). 

Retirement living ‘solves’ all of these issues – allowing you to stay living independently while removing the hassle of maintenance. There’s also the benefits of living within a community. 

Room for improvement 

Overall, just six per cent of residents were ‘not satisfied’ with their village experience – the same figure as you would have in a standard apartment building. 

There was room for improvement however. Only half of residents said they were ‘completely’ clear on village maintenance fees with just over half (56 per cent) seeking legal advice on their village contract. 

Fewer than one in five residents (17 per cent) also thought they understood the exit fees extremely well and another 37 per cent quite well. That’s still another 46 per cent unsure about what they will pay when they depart their village. 

Almost half (44 per cent) of residents were also unsure about the process for complaints, with only half of those who had a complaint feeling that it was dealt with quickly and fairly. 

But the villages who participated can now see where changes are needed – and make them. 

Great news for current – and future – residents. 

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A special thanks to our contributors



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.