The Retirement Living Council’s “Better Housing for Better Health” report outlines the overlooked value retirement communities provide in housing, healthcare and the lives of over 250,000 people living in age-friendly communities nationwide.
RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon distinguishes the retirement living industry from aged care, emphasising the first-of-its-kind report’s message to governments about the sector’s value, affordability in a challenging housing market and the positive impact on residents’ health.
“Retirement villages across Australia are already saving the government a billion dollars a year, by delaying residents’ entry into aged care, and quite simply, we need more of them,” Gannon said.
The RLC report corrects common misconceptions conflating retirement living with aged care. It sends a clear economic and social message to policymakers on supporting retirement village growth to address the twin challenges of housing shortages and the rapidly ageing population.
Key findings show:
Additionally, the report shows that retirement community residents are 15% more physically active, 41% happier with better physical and mental health, 5 times more socially engaged and half as likely to feel lonely or depressed, saving governments almost $5 million in additional healthcare costs.
Gannon said there are currently two million Australians aged over 75 and this cohort will increase by 70 per cent to 3.4 million by 2040. “Age-friendly housing can reduce interactions between older Australians, GPs and hospitals, which releases capacity back into health systems for those who need it most when they need it most.”