What is Active Senior Living?

After winding down their work commitments, most senior Australians are making quite a number of decisions to transition themselves into their next life stage.

With the majority of us in good health and living longer, “Active Ageing” presents greater opportunities to keep participating in the community for longer while looking forward to a more engaged senior lifestyle.

One major decision Active Lifestyle Estates residents are making is to downsize to a more sustainable housing solution where active seniors can free up the money that was tied up in a big home they no longer needed and make plans for an exciting and fun-filled life.

Who are active seniors?

– Active seniors normally fit in the 50 – 85 age bracket and are able to live independently and make important decisions about their future
– Unless essential, active seniors do not require an aged care facility with round-theclock medical staff and catering services
– Australia’s active seniors find the perfect way to keep a social circle around them is by living in an active lifestyle estate
– Active seniors require flexible living options with minimal upkeep, leaving more time to enjoy life and less time worrying about maintenance or mounting bills
– After freeing up equity from their home, active seniors can make travel plans to do that round-trip of Australia or head overseas. Others are starting a new hobby or ticking something off their bucket list
– They value security, safety, and access to nearby services as well as being part of a community of like-minded friends.

Seniors Urged to Take Advantage of Home Price Spike

As median house prices continue to climb across most capital cities, many asset-rich cash-poor seniors are missing out on an opportunity to build on their existing home equity and improve their living standards.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest residential property price index revealed median house prices rose across most capital cities in the 12 months to September 2015, with the highest growth in Sydney (19.9 per cent), Melbourne (9.9 per cent), Canberra (4 per cent) and Brisbane (3.8 per cent).

Retirement finance expert and author Rachel Lane said senior homeowners could boost their cash reserves by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling while prices are high and moving into more affordable accommodation.

“While housing affordability is generally considered a young person’s issue restricting entry to the market, it is also a major problem for those that do own a home but rely on a low weekly income,” Ms Lane said.

“The Australian Government Productivity Commission’s recent report Housing Decisions of Older Australians found more than 90 per cent of homeowner Age Pension recipients currently under the ASFA threshold for modest retirement standards could reach that benchmark over the rest of their lives by using their home equity.

“The report also suggested households aged 65 to 74 years had on average $480,000 in home equity, which compared to the cost of a more affordable home in the vicinity of $200,000-$300,000 represents a significant gap of potential cash reserve.”

According to Ms Lane, there is great confusion amongst many people about the types of affordable housing available.

“Senior homeowners looking to downsize needn’t be competing in the private market against homeowners and investors, which is a common fear, as there are a variety of traditional and new home options to suit,” Ms Lane said.

“Lifestyle-focused manufactured home estates for example are one of the newest catering to this specific market.

“While the homes on offer are of an increasingly high quality, the entry price point is kept low since residents lease, rather than own the land, with weekly fees in the $120-$160 range. This pricing model eliminates the need to pay stamp duty, entry and exit fees and in some cases, the resident is then eligible for rent assistance.

“One such operator – Active Lifestyle Estates – has 21 communities across New South Wales and recently expanded into Queensland.

“For example, in Queensland’s Logan City, the median house price at Active Lifestyle Estates Chambers Pines is $210,000, 63 per cent lower than the $572,000 median price point[1] for the surrounding Chambers Flat area.

“Likewise in western Sydney, the quarterly median house price in areas like Windsor ($598,000)[2] and Blacktown ($661,000)[3] are double the $300,000 starting price point for the nearby Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek community.

“I would urge seniors to pay close attention to median house prices in their area and affordable housing price points like these to get a better sense of the type of cash reserves they might be able to access.”

[1] Residex Suburb Report – Chambers Flat 4133 QLD http://www.residex.com.au/free-report

[2] Residex Suburb Report – Windsor 2756 NSW http://www.residex.com.au/free-report

[3] Residex Suburb Report – Blacktown 2148 NSW http://www.residex.com.au/free-report

The Key to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

If, like many Aussies, you plan on setting a New Year’s resolutions for 2016, there are a few tips to ensure your goals aren’t on the backburner by Australia Day.

There’s a reason so many people fail to stick to their resolutions, and it’s because we’re not very good at setting resolutions we have any chance of keeping. Many resolutions doomed for failure are too vague, unrealistic or unmemorable.

Some of the most popular resolutions, like ‘save more money’, ‘lose weight’ or ‘spend more time with family’, don’t actually provide any firm end goal, making it easy to give up by March or even earlier.

Ensure your resolutions include specifics and smaller stepping stones to achieving those goals – and most importantly – make sure you write your goals down or tell someone else about them to keep you accountable!

Of course, it’s easier to keep a resolution that is focuses on YOUR enjoyment to and why not – that’s what retirement should be all about!

In 2016, I resolve to:

  1. Look after my health and wellbeing

Losing weight is one of the most popular resolutions made on December 31, but why not focus more on health and wellbeing? Rather than aiming to lose five kilos, pledge to go for a walk a few days a week, integrate a new type of healthy and tasty food into your diet or try a wellness based activity like tai chi, meditation or pilates.

A healthy body is a healthy mind, so committing to making small changes to positively affect your physical health is going to do wonders for your emotional wellbeing also.

It’s never too late to improve your health, so start in 2016 and your body will be thanking you for years to come.”

 

  1. Develop a passion

Whether it’s unearthing an old passion or discovering a new one, find an activity that brings you joy and put more time into it.

Did you love drawing when you were younger? Have you always secretly wanted to learn guitar?

Be it photography, hiking or salsa dancing, sign up for a class or put aside an hour every week to spend time doing what makes you happy.

Even better, get your partner, neighbours or friends involved. Sharing your joy with others will benefit all of you.

 

  1. Improve my financial situation

While resolving to win the lotto and move to France might be wishful thinking, there are real steps you can take to improve your finances or reach a goal like a much-wanted holiday.

Like all things financial, education is key. Do your research – borrow topical books from the library, read personal finance magazines and sign up to receive e-newsletters from reputable websites.

If you haven’t already, consider meeting with a financial planner to discuss the kinds of options to access and make best use of your superannuation or the equity on your home to help fund the retirement lifestyle of your dreams.

For the smaller luxuries in life, don’t feel bad at all about indulging yourself after a lifetime of looking after others! To help with saving, consider the total amount you might need and break that up into weekly or monthly payments. For example, setting aside $30 a week will yield more than $1,500 by the year’s end, or even more if you deposit into a high-interest savings account!

 

Don’t Forget Your Bucket List!

Taking the time to sit down and write your bucket list is something we never seem to get around to.

But as we start to plan ahead and make the big decisions about retirement and downsizing we are also starting to think about the things we have always dreamed of doing. There are so many things to look forward to once those big decisions have been made.

The whole point of creating your list is to maximise every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time here, so that instead of pandering our time in pointless activities, we are directing it fully toward what matters to us.

From the research we have conducted with our potential and existing residents, travelling around Australia is one of the top priorities on your bucket list. And why not? We have everything here. On your way around the country you can snorkel the Barrier Reef, go ballooning over the Barossa, walk one of the trails in the Blue Mountains, cruise the Kimberleys, visit Wineglass Bay or go to a show at the Sydney Opera House.

Some of the other top bucket list items are to travel the world, learn a language, learn to dance, run a marathon, take up a new sport, become a mentor, learn a strategy game, sing in front of an audience, achieve your ideal weight or become a volunteer.

Being active and learning new things are life enriching so take out a pen and paper and start writing your list today!

Chambers Pines Mothers Day

No one celebrates Mothers Day quite like the ladies at Active Lifestyle Estates Chambers Pines!

On Saturday 9th May, friends, family and residents gathered for cakes, bubbly, prizes, dancing and the sweet sounds of live musician John Cornelius.

The function was a great success with over 50 people enjoying the festivities of this special day. Particular thanks were extended to the social committee for their hard work, and to the ‘Cards’ ladies for the generous contribution of sandwiches.

Mothers Day celebrations at Active Lifestyle Estates Chambers Pines

Mothers Day celebrations at Active Lifestyle Estates Chambers Pines

 

Each Active Lifestyle Estates hosts a range of fun, social activities throughout the year for residents and friends.

To find out what’s happening in your neighbourhood please contact your sales or estate manager, and join in the fun.

Exercise The Easy Way

We all know the importance of staying as fit and healthy as possible, and while for some, that means swimming hundreds of laps a week, jogging for miles or squeezing into lycra and riding off for hours on end! For most retirees it’s about regular, moderate exercise that gets the heart rate up, and firing the muscles, without putting too much pressure on ageing joints.

Of course, if you haven’t been active, or you have a chronic health condition, it’s important to chat with your doctor before taking up any exercise. In general though, if you follow the rule of starting slowly and listening to your body, then most low-impact exercises should be safe to do.

“Staying physically active is the single most important thing we can do to stay independent,” says Peter Sirr, specialist physiotherapist and Care Assist affiliate. “Research now shows that staying physically active leads to better physical, social and emotional health, whilst reducing the risk of dementia, heart disease and falls.”

So as well as the health benefits, low-stress exercises also have the added benefit of being quite social – even if you are too puffed during the activity to actually chat much, there are plenty of exercises to choose from. The key is to find an exercise that you enjoy, join with a few friends and stay active.

The Commonwealth Department of Health recommends that people over 60 years of age do a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility, and should try to fit in a total of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. You don’t even need to do the 30 minutes all in one hit – 10 minutes three times a day will still do the trick.

Walking

Probably the simplest, cheapest and most social of all activities, all you really need is a pair of good, comfortable shoes with plenty of support, and away you go. Setting up a walking group is always a good idea, as it’s social and reduces the chances of skipping a day. Alternatively you might prefer to take your headphones and favourite music or audio-book. Fixing on a specific destination makes the walk even more enjoyable – cafes are a good option, as long as you don’t eat too many cakes when you get there! Just remember to keep a brisk pace, and stretch out those calves and ankles afterwards.

Swimming and water-activity

Another exercise that needs minimal equipment (except a comfortable swimming pool or beach of course) is aquatics. In a pool, you don’t even need to be a particularly strong swimmer to make the most of this excellent form of exercise. Lap-swimming is the most popular exercise, however it’s not for everyone, and that’s where water-walking and running, kick-boarding and organised aquarobics come in. All are great forms of exercise due to the combined effect of water pressure and coolness on muscles, body buoyancy to reduce joint impact, and the effect of water resistance on your motion through the water.

Tai Chi and yoga

Whether you join a specific yoga or tai chi class, buy some dvds or just check out the plethora of instructional videos online (YouTube has thousands), ‘postural’ exercises pretty much tick all four of the Department of Health’s boxes: fitness, strength, balance and flexibility, with the added bonus of including meditative elements for mental wellbeing. If you’re just starting out, then it’s wise to head to a formal class where an experienced instructor can give you guidance on the appropriate form and posture for your capabilities.

Housework and gardening

Yes, we know that most Active Lifestyle Estates residents have chosen our communities to escape housework and gardening, but for those who are still inclined to enjoy cleaning and pottering in the garden, you’ll be pleased to know that these can still be counted towards your daily exercise if they get your heart rate up. In fact, according to myfitnesspal.com, an hour of moderate cleaning, or 45 minutes of gardening uses as much energy as walking up a hill for half an hour.

Stretching and recovery

After any exercise, it’s important to spend time cooling down and stretching. In yoga, tai chi and guided group exercise, this is usually incorporated in the activity, but if you’ve been for a walk, to the pool or out in the garden, don’t forget to bring the heart rate slowly back to normal. Carefully stretch the muscles and limbs, and drink plenty of water. What better excuse is there to then treat yourself to a nice long shower or relaxing massage?

The Best of Both Worlds

Central Coast residents have been quick to snap up a new home at Active Lifestyle Estates Ettalong Beach and take advantage of experiencing the best of both worlds – all the joy of a peaceful coastal location with its beautiful surrounds and nearby beach, shops and restaurants, while only being a 90-minute drive from the Sydney CBD.

With stage one now sold out, residents are savouring the independent and active lifestyle on offer, while living in resort-style surrounds, kicking back in the new community centre and enjoying the community feeling and security that accompanies community living.

Diane and Margot

Dianne, 66, and her friend Margot moved into their Ettalong Beach home in January 2015. ” We were both renting separately, so we decided to pool our resources and move somewhere warmer, and closer to our families,” Dianne said.

“Since we’ve moved in we’ve been very impressed with the on-site management – the grounds are beautifully maintained, the staff always follow up queries and requests, and they’re very proactive and personable.”

 

We were looking to move into a place with less maintenance, where we could also get a bit of a helping hand from time-to-time.

 

Jan and Graham

Jan, 70, and her husband Graham, 71, fell in love with the local areas years ago, and would regularly holiday at Ettalong Beach when their children were young.

“About three months ago we wer out driving on a Sunday and on the spur of the moment we de

cided to look at the holiday park. We were surprised to see it had changed to an Active Lifestyle Estate with new permanent houses,” Jan said.

“We’re at a stage of our lives where we want to be surrounded by a few more people, and have the sense of safety that a gated community provides.”

“The greatest bonus has been the social aspect of living here – we see our neighbours all the time and often go to the theatre and lunch together.”

Active Lifestyle Estates residents purchase a new manufactured home and lease, rather than own the land, which eliminates the need to pay stamp duty and entry fees.

They are also set to benefit from the new launched free Ingenia Care Assist program which connects residents with vital health, social and domestic service providers.

Retirement Living Made Simple! What’s the best option for you?

Retirement communities come in all different shapes and sizes and to help you consider your options we talk to Rachel Lane, co-author with Noel Whittaker, about what you should consider if you’re thinking of downsizing.

Are you best suited to apartment living? Would you want to move in with family (good for some, but not for all)? Or would you be better off at a retirement village or lifestyle estate – sometimes referred to as a ‘manufactured home park’ or ‘over-55s community’.

While no two retirement communities are ever exactly the same, let’s look at the three major differences between a retirement village and a lifestyle estate:

  1. the legal framework;
  2. the financial costs; and
  3. The ability to access Commonwealth Rental Assistance from the Government.

Legal Protection

On the surface it may appear there are too many different legal and financial arrangements that you need to compare. Most retirement communities fall into two groups:  retirement villages or manufactured home parks (i.e. lifestyle parks).

Retirement villages operate under the Retirement Villages Act and the major differences are that in a Retirement Village you have a lease or ‘licence to occupy’. In a lifestyle estate however you own your home and lease the land. lifestyle estates also operate under state or territory legislation including the Residential Land Lease Communities Act, the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act and the Residential Tenancies Act.

Both retirement villages and lifestyle estates both typically offer a range of lifestyle and community facilities from swimming pools to community centres and lifestyle programs but a large point of difference is the cost structure.

Financial Costs

Properties sold under the Retirement Villages Act will have a range of costs to consider. The ingoing contribution (purchase price); the monthly maintenance fee; a deferred management fee (a percentage paid to the operator when you leave often between 20 per cent to 35 per cent); and a share of the capital gain that you also share with the operator of the village. The disclosure statement details these costs and allows you to compare between villages and other options you may be considering.

The simplicity of the costs in a lifestyle estate is the differentiating factor. When you choose your new home in a lifestyle estate you pay for the house and own it, you rent the land, and subject to your circumstances, you may qualify for the Commonwealth Rental Assistance to subsidise this land rent. There is no more to pay! It’s that simple! Your land rent (usually between $150 and $180 per week) covers all community facilities, maintenance costs, and your council rates and village management costs. All you have to budget for is your personal utilities, home and contents insurance and your next holiday!

Both retirement villages and lifestyle estates (MHEs) are governed by legislation that controls fees and rent increases.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance

There is a lot to consider when it comes to finances of moving to a retirement community. Common questions include: what will happen to my pension?  Will I be eligible for rent assistance?  Will I be able to afford living in village longer term? What will be the cost of a care package if I need one? And how much money will I get back when I leave?

Financial confusion is one of the reasons people delay moving to a retirement community. When they finally make the move their biggest regret is not moving sooner!

If you are confused about the financial implications of moving to a retirement community, seek advice from a financial adviser who specialises in this area.

About the author

Rachel Lane is the Principal of Village Gurus and co-author of the book ‘Aged Care, Who Cares?’ with Noel Whittaker. She overseas a national network of financial advisers dedicated to providing quality advise to senior Australians and their families. Rachel has specialised in this field for more than a decade and believes her passion comes from growing up with her grandmother. Rachel also holds a Masters in Financial Planning.

First New Home Owner Moves Into Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek

Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek celebrated a major milestone on Monday 23 February, welcoming the first resident to settle in to one of its newly constructed homes.
The growing lifestyle community in Marsden Park is a popular site for affordable, permanent living for over-55s in a secluded pocket of Sydney’s Western suburbs.

Speaking the day after she moved in, new resident Lorraine Austin said she was
delighted with her brand new two-bedroom home, and impressed with how smoothly the buying process progressed, from start to finish.

“I was looking to downsize from the home I was living in, so I’d have less yard to look after and less house to clean,” she said. “Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek stood out for me because I could downsize and move to a more peaceful location, and still live within close proximity to my previous neighbourhood.”
Lorraine is thrilled with the size of her backyard that’s big enough for some lawn to enjoy the outdoors and hang her washing, but
not too much to look after when she’d rather be doing other things.

Location was also a big factor in her decision to move to Stoney Creek. “I love that I can still attend the same church I did before I moved, as it is only 10 minutes away, and I can still shop at the same set of shops close by.”

According to Lorraine, Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek’s setting, including an expanse of open space and trees, provided a real sense of community and felt like an escape from the world of hustle and bustle.

“There are a lot of trees all around the estate. It’s very relaxing and based on the plans for the future, it’s going to be quite beautiful, too,” Lorraine said.
Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek allows residents the opportunity to choose their First new home owner moves into Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek brand new home from a range of designs at an affordable price with no stamp duty, legal costs,
or entry or exit fees. A small weekly rental fee is paid to lease the land and the resident owns the home, which means they keep 100% of the capital gain if they choose to sell.
If you’re interested in living at Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek, contact ALE Stoney Creek Project Sales
Manager Rachel Pullicino on 0459 995 919.

New Homes and Green Thumbs at Albury

Just moments from the beautiful Murray River, the first stage of the Active Lifestyle Estates Albury redevelopment is well
underway, with almost all the new homes snapped up and another five two- and three bedroom homes due to arrive by mid-April.

Priced from just $195,000 and finished to an exceptionally high standard, the new homes are not likely to be on the market for
very long.

For many, the appeal of an Active Lifestyle Estate home is the opportunity to enjoy low maintenance yards and a hassle free garden. But this doesn’t mean residents miss out on the benefits of growing fresh herbs and vegetables, and the arrival of new vegetable garden beds recently was met with great enthusiasm.

Birdfeeders and birdbaths will also be installed to encourage native wildlife to make
their home around the village as well.