Canberra’s Silver Tsunami: Demand Outstrips Supply in Retirement Living

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Retirement Lifestyle in Canberra Spotlighted Due to Increased Demand and Federal Policies

Our source reported that retired lawyer, Anne Caine, and her spouse recently chose to embrace the retirement community lifestyle in Narrabundah, Canberra. Their decision was largely influenced by the retirement community’s many easy access features, such as the inclusion of an internal lift. The couple’s transition mirrors a larger pattern seen among the ageing who are presently favouring downsized, easier-to-manage homes over larger properties.

Government Policies Promoting Downsizing Amidst an Upsurge in Demand

The ACT government has eagerly endorsed this downsizing phenomenon by gradually eliminating stamp duty; a strategy aimed primarily at making larger houses available for expanding families. However, contradicting this, federal policies like Home Care Packages are also in place, designed to assist the elderly in staying in their current homes for longer periods. Despite the seeming contradiction of these policies, the inclination towards retirement living remains greatly attractive. As evidenced by a 95% occupation rate in Canberra’s retirement communities, the highest throughout Australia.

Benefits and Challenges of Retirement Living

The overwhelming demand for these retirement communities may be linked back to the many comforts they offer its residents. These include opportunities for enhanced physical and social activity, which often result in higher levels of happiness compared to their non-resident counterparts.

However, in response to these shifting demands, groups like the Retirement Living Council and the Property Council of the ACT are campaigning for an increase in retirement living options. These groups underscore the necessity of additional zoning for retirement villages within new developments.

Addressing the Need for More Retirement Living Spaces

Acknowledging the increasing demand for retirement living spaces, Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury emphasised ongoing planning reforms. These aim to make Canberra a more compact city. This includes higher-density retirement villages in its design in an effort to cater to the ageing population’s living options better.

Consequently, while the move to retirement villages provides a comfortable alternative for ageing individuals, it also highlights the need for a closer alignment between federal, state, and local policies and reforms – a matter of significant public interest in future city planning.


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