What matters most to people in retirement villages and their transition to residential aged care

Polly Yeung, Gretchen Good, Kieran O'Donoghue, Sarah Spence, Blanka Ros


INTRODUCTION: As older people age and become frail, their decline in independence and concomitant changing care needs may force them to move from retirement village to a residential aged care (RAC) facility. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that contribute to subjective wellbeing among older people living in retirement villages in Aotearoa New Zealand and to compare results with the data from the residents of the care home facilities co-located with the retirement villages.

METHOD: This study is mainly quantitative in nature to examine what factors contributed to subjective wellbeing among older people living in retirement villages. Descriptive and regression analyses were used with data collected in 2016 from residents of two retirement villages (N = 163) from one aged residential care provider in Aotearoa New Zealand and they were then compared with already-published data on RAC residents. In addition, four village residents participated in semi-structured interviews. 

RESULTS: Results showed that retirement village residents reported being generally satisfied with their living environment and their overall wellbeing is positively influenced by their social and psychological milieu.

CONCLUSIONS: This research provides insights on what matters most to retirement village residents’ subjective wellbeing, which includes a dignified environment enhancing positive mental health, relationship building and reducing loneliness and isolation. Results were also compared with feedback from care home residents co-located in the same estate to provide an indicative picture for comparison against other studies to inform and expand choices for older people to consider when relocating in late-life. 


wellbeing; retirement; residential care; older people ; quality of life

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol29iss4id419


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