Step 5

Types of retirement living accommodation

NOTE: there are property developers who will build and market a townhouse or apartment development under the banner of an Over 55’s development. This generally means that they are targeting older buyers but when all the homes have been sold the developer departs, leaving the residents on their own to manage the mix of age groups.

Here at agedcare101 we have broken down retirement living into 6 separate categories meaning there are professional operators that package these housing services.

1. Retirement Living

There are approximately 2,000 retirement villages supporting 190,000 residents across Australia. This is the most popular form of retirement living. Villages offer an independent lifestyle with 1 - 3 bedroom villas or units. They have been designed to support you as you age, making them ideal for home care services. People seek retirement villages for the physical and financial security plus the companionship of other residents and support network.

2. Land Lease Communities

There are over 200 of these across Australia and growing rapidly. They offer affordable housing and with varying levels of resort style facilities. Also known as Manufactured Home Estates and Resort Communities, they have a unique home ownership model where you own your physical home but rent the land it sits on. This significantly reduces the ‘cost’ of owning your home plus pensioners can receive Centrelink support in the land rental costs.

3. Serviced Apartments

All serviced apartments are one bed or studio units located in retirement villages and offer a smaller alternative to a full home, which suits single people on their own who are struggling with daily chores. You stay part of the village but can have a major meal in a communal dining room. You can elect to have your room and linen cleaned or have care services delivered.

4. Home Care Retiremet Villages

A new but increasingly popular concept, there are now dedicated home care villages (traditional villages that provide a similar service in your existing village home). At the centre is a philosophy that you can stay in your own home with declining health, receiving home care and increasingly high levels of medical care and no need to move.

5. Co-Located Villages

The term ‘co-located’ refers to a retirement village that has an aged care home (nursing home) next door on the same block of land. The appeal is that you have more certainty on a possible next move from the village, and if you are a couple, you are not separated. Nearly all are operated by Not For Profit organisations.

6. Rental Villages

Rental villages offer affordable housing, mainly for seniors, on a recurring weekly or fortnighly rental basis. There are just 300 dedicated rental villages in Australia, nearly all in regional centres. These villages mostly offer studio or one bed unit with a meal service and weekly fresh linen and cleaning. The manager will provide a limited support. Some retirement villages also offer a limited number of homes for rent.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

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.