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Villages a gateway for healthy lifestyles


Ninety per cent of retirement village residents say they feel positive about life and almost three quarters rate their health as good to excellent, new research by Bolton Clarke Research Institute has found.

The Institute’s biennial Health and Wellbeing in Retirement Living survey gathered responses from more than 1500 residents across the organisation’s 38 villages around Australia.

The survey aims to gauge health and wellbeing needs of village residents and track changing health needs to inform development of new services.

Residents ranged in age from 52-102, with an average age of 82. Just over half lived alone and 16% had caring responsibilities.

Around 70 per cent said they engaged in physical exercise at least once a week, with most of those doing regular cardio activities.

Almost all residents travelled outside their retirement community at least once a week, with regular social engagements including:

  • 55% of residents engaged in social clubs, activities, education, arts, or music groups
  • 36% went to sports clubs, gyms or exercise classes
  • 22% attended church or other religious/spiritual groups
  • 18% volunteer
  • 3% engaged in paid work
  • 10% cared for grandchildren
  • One-third engaged in resident committees or committee meetings

Half of all village residents were receiving formal paid support at home, with 22 per cent receiving informal support from family or friends.

Just over 40 per cent had been admitted to hospital in the past 12 months and almost one in three respondents screened as frail or pre-frail.

Bolton Clarke Head of Research Professor Judy Lowthian said results from the survey would inform more connected services for village residents to help them live independently for longer.

“These findings are important for development of services including Bolton Clarke’s Be Healthy and Active wellbeing program, our work on frailty and falls prevention and social connection programs,” she said.

“Previous findings have been addressed through programs like our Village Hub at Caboolture in Queensland, a community-facing hub that brings a network of service providers together to connect older people across the Moreton Bay region through shared social activities.”

The survey results reinforce Retirement Living Council survey data, published in late 2023, showing retirement village residents are up to five times more socially active and 15 per cent more physically active than older people living in the community.

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