Australia could be grossly underestimating the popularity of retirement village living, according to new research.
Bond University PhD student, Ms. Chiou See Anderson, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ estimate that only 4.35% of Australians over 65 are currently living in retirement villages is based on a "narrow definition of retirement community accommodation", and that the real figure "could be as much as double that".
Ms Anderson, together with Bond University Professor George Earl and University of Sydney Associate Professor Dave Kennedy, recently conducted an independent analysis of the Gold Coast to determine the number of people aged over 65 that were living in retirement communities.
Using a broader definition they termed ‘Leisure Oriented Retirement Communities’, they found 1 out of every 9 or 10 Australians over 65 on the Gold Coast is living in a purpose-built retirement community, compared to the ABS’s estimate of just 1 in every 16.
"The implications for all levels of government are quite dramatic," Ms Anderson said.
"Our research findings also have significant implications for seniors’ housing providers and, most importantly, the increasing number of ageing Australians who are actively seeking out this sort of accommodation.
"The ABS needs to reconsider their definition of a ‘retirement community’ before the 2011 census to enable reliable data to be collected, policies formed and sound investment decisions to be made," she said.
Professor George Earl presented the research findings to Aged Care Queensland’s 2008 Retirement Living Conference, held on the Gold Coast May 22- 23.