The Aged Care / Retirement Village Experience in Australia

Sadly, our Australian aged care and retirement village sectors have recently been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The ongoing royal commission into the aged care sector has highlighted some glaring deficiencies as private sector profits have been made by some at the expense of our elderly retirees’ care, dignity and quality of life. However sophisticated the Australian aged care system is with our mixture of newer and experienced operators, myriad of compliance and regulatory oversight, it is not perfect.

What Are The Alternatives?

We at Retire to Asia have seen a growth in the movement of retirees into retirement villages and condominiums within SE Asia, with access to very affordable, high quality medical and nursing care. All this is delivered with an attitude of genuine care, dignity and respect that the Asian cultures are renowned for.

It is fundamental to Asian culture that the elderly are treated with respect, care and dignity. As you travel around the region you see this attitude permeating throughout society, no matter whether you are in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesian, Cambodia or Vietnam.

Culturally we seem to have lost this a little in our developed western societies.

With a warm tropical climate, cost of living advantages plus the care and attention to the needs of the elderly, why wouldn’t you consider taking a closer look at the advantages of retiring to Asia long long term?

What Are The Various Issues You Need To Consider?

Moving overseas in retirement is not an exercise to be taken lightly. There are many potential pitfalls and issues that need to be addressed. However, it is not as complicated and difficult an exercise as many might think.

Some generic considerations include:

• Do I move on a full time or part time basis?
• Do I buy or lease my accommodation?
• What type of retirement visa do I need to apply for and what do I need to do to be eligible?
• Am I still eligible for the Australian aged pension?
• Am I still eligible for Australian Medicare whilst overseas?
• What is the cost and age covered by International private health insurance?
• What is the standard and access of medical care in the country of retirement?
• Can I transition into gradual higher levels of home help and care as I age?
• What live-in nursing options are available to me and at what cost?
• Financially, does my situation and circumstances allow me to consider this in the first place?
• What activities, sense of community and cultural events can I access to enjoy my ageing retirement?

Whilst no one answer can cover everyone, we do suggest that as part of the planning process you do seek assistance if you have concerns.

At ‘Retire to Asia’, we assist many potential retirees with these various questions. We will increasingly do this through the continued dissemination of up to date relevant information via these blogs and our website, plus we have a developing ‘Issues To Consider Report’ specifically designed to address the above questions plus any further ones requiring attention.
You will hear much more about this early in 2020.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

In March 2018, we visited a Retirement Village on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The village is run by an English gentleman and his Thai wife, who purchased a failed hotel resort and then spent the following two years converting it into the magnificent and international award-winning retirement village it has become today. The grounds are truly spectacular, with delightful manicured gardens, two swimming pools and stand-alone cottages, all set amongst the beautiful tropical North Thailand countryside.

These facilities that specifically cater to the expat retiree in their later years of life are at the moment quite rare. However, we have spoken specifically to three facilities that are on the drawing board, two of which have financing already in place and plan to start building in 2020. We will be telling their stories in due course when we are able to.

Expect far more of these facilities to be built in coming years.

From what we have seen so far, they do not require an accommodation bond to get into and are cost effective compared to Australian retirement villages and nursing homes. And as staff costs are much lower in SE Asia you can expect far better staff to resident ratios which means better levels of personalised care.

Catherine – An English Rose firmly established in the Thai countryside

When we spoke to Catherine at the retirement village in northern Thailand, she was full of praise, “The level of care for residents of the Village is exceptional, and the staff are so friendly. Thai people truly respect the elderly, and even those that reside in one of the dementia wards are always treated with the utmost dignity. It’s very reassuring”.

In its now over four years of operation, and with still no advertising, the Retirement Village has received thousands of international inquiries from all corners of the world. And surprise, surprise, a good majority of those inquiries are from women!

Catherine chuckled when we mentioned this to her, “Look around you, we have a lovely sense of community here, and yes women dominate. Maybe it’s because we tend to live longer than men, but I don’t want to take anything for granted, I just want to enjoy every minute of my life”. She continued “I can’t speak for everyone, but the women I talk too have a wonderful sense of adventure, they want to enrich their lives, and breath new life into their souls”.

We couldn’t agree more.

Conclusion

The next time you hear people complaining about the cost, access, affordability and standards of our Australian aged care sector, please be aware that there are other alternatives in our SE Asian region and that the team at Retire To Asia is here to help you make that alternative a reality.