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Design development for the discerning retiree

When we think of people retiring, often we immediately see people selling up the family home and moving into a small, simple house or apartment. But as more and more of the baby boomer generation approach retirement, we are seeing a real shift in the attitudes towards ‘retirement living’.

This generation of retirees is more discerning and are not willing to compromise on luxury or lifestyle when they retire. They want to live in their own home, independently, for as long as possible. They want to remain as part of the community surrounded by people of different ages and interests and some want to continue working part time. Others want to travel around Australia or the world but have a comfortable home base to return to that has room for family and friends to visit.

Developers and designers are responding to this trend by providing retirees with a range of options when it comes to retirement living. Gone are the days of retirees accepting small, run of the mill homes. Instead we are seeing designer apartments and stylish lifestyle estates that allow people to live independently, while providing ease of access to shops, restaurants, entertainment options, as well as doctors and specialists.

One of my first design jobs, before I had even completed my formal training, was designing the homes and country clubs in Kensington Gardens lifestyle estates (located in Albury and Shepparton) for the Green Group. The homes were elegant and spacious - 4-bedroom homes were standard, with fantastic onsite facilities such as a bar and workshop and space outside to park the caravan or boat…. or plane. The country club was modern and chic and provided a central meeting point for like-minded people to meet and relax.

We are also seeing more developments like the Aveo Newstead Retirement Village in Brisbane. The New York style boulevard apartments with city or river views, including opulent penthouse suites, providing retirees with a luxurious lifestyle all within easy reach of services (many provided within the village or in the shopping complex just below) and Brisbane’s CBD. In this environment, people can live comfortably and transition between the various levels of care if need be.

For people starting to think about retiring and downsizing, my advice is simple, think about how you would love to live and then investigate the best options to accommodate you. Throughout the different phases of life we gather A LOT of stuff. So, take this opportunity to get rid of the clutter, keep just a few special pieces of furniture and artwork, and always go for quality – quality design and quality furniture. At the end of the day, it’s an investment in your future and lifestyle.

Keeley xo

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