Retirement villages 'just another option" for elderly in Queenstown
Retirement homes are not the only accommodation option for elderly people in Central Otago, an independent expert says.
Retirement villages manager at the Commission for Financial Capability, Troy Churton, told a seminar on retirement home living on Friday that retirement villages were "one of a number of accommodation options" and not the only option available for elderly people to consider.
Having two proposed retirement villages containing 500 homes in Shotover Country and Arrowtown was beneficial for its potential residents, Churton said.
"The good thing is most retirement village residents like to move into a village within 15 kilometres of where they spent most of their life so from that point of view it's only a positive."
About 12 per cent of New Zealanders over 75 lived in retirement villages, he said.
"In theory by an older person selling their home to move into a village it frees up residential housing stock for the local market. The trouble of course with Queenstown is whether it's an affordable housing stock is another question," he said.
Retirement villages would also boost the local economy, Churton said.
"There's a whole load of new workforce and care workers potentially and it may help improve the standards of local health care facilities for older folks."
Arrowtown resident Kevin Beardsmore said there was demand for more retirement homes in the region.
"Competition is a great thing and we are going to need them anyway," he said.
Beardsmore hoped the two proposed retirement villages would compete to provide better services and better deals.
Churton said it was important to have a retirement village option as part of a well thought-out financial and wellbeing plan.
He would come back to Queenstown with the seminar, as a waiting list was starting to form already.
"There's clearly a lot of people interested and a strong demand in villages in this area," Churton said.
Grey Power Queenstown Lakes president Lesley Jones said attendees were "hungry" for such information.
"[Churton] certainly knows a lot," she said.
During the almost two-hour session at St Margaret's Church Hall, Churton talked about the retirement village industry, its living costs and legal requirements, and answered questions from the audience.