For most retirees looking to downsize or needing assisted care, their go-to choice is a nursing home. Many people aren’t aware that many aged care alternatives are available today. These alternatives offer a sense of community and much-needed care and assistance. 

These alternatives allow you to pick a retirement housing option that allows you to keep your independence and sense of community. You can continue leading a fulfilling life and enjoy your golden years.

Alternatives to Aged Care In Australia

There are plenty of alternatives to care homes popping up around Australia, providing different experiences and lifestyle options to the diverse retiring population. Below are some of these options.

Independent living

As the name suggests, this nursing home alternative allows you to maintain an independent lifestyle while living in a retirement village. In such cases, retirement villages offer serviced apartments to individuals interested in the independent living housing option. 

This type of housing is suitable for people who can independently look after themselves but may occasionally require simple services and help like cleaning and meal preparation. Such people want to live alone but still desire the community aspect of retirement villages. 

Rental villages

Rental villages are another alternative that comes with some level of independent living while providing residents with a community of like-minded people. These villages offer single or studio units with limited communal facilities and amenities. They also provide extra services you wouldn’t usually find in a traditional retirement village. For instance, you may find a community dining room with several meals included a day. You may also receive home care services if you need them.

Rental villages tend to be more affordable than retirement villages. Also, unlike ordinary rental houses, rental villages are built with age-friendly designs to minimise the risk of tripping or other accidents.

Land lease communities

Land lease communities, also known as Manufactured Home Estates (MHEs) or resort communities, are a relatively new but popular alternative to care homes for the elderly. Land lease communities offer younger retirees the option to own their homes and lease the land they sit on. 

This housing plan allows the elderly to own affordable yet upmarket homes they can be proud of. The added advantage of this plan is that the owners are all retirees, so you get to be among your peers. Another advantage is that if you wish to sell your house, you can keep 100% of the sale.

Most of these gated communities offer community amenities such as bowls and tennis courses, swimming pools and luxury-style locations. These are perfect for those who want to live an active retirement life.

Assisted living

Assisted living housing option combines a retirement village and a nursing home. You get to live in a self-contained apartment or unit in a community with the ability to access care and support if you need it and when you need it. The advantage of this aged care alternative is that you don’t need to move to a residential aged care facility should your needs change. This is because aged care services are at your disposal within the quarters. 

Assisted living complexes offer quality care from professional medical and care staff. They also tend to have social amenities and events to enable residents to interact socially with the community.


Co-housing is similar to serviced apartments and support living. This makes it an excellent option for people who prefer retirement accommodation instead of going straight into an aged care facility after retirement.

The co-housing option offers low-cost bedsitter housing with shared facilities, like parks and laundries. This option allows you to have your own space while still interacting with other people. Though not available in-house, additional care services are provided to those who require them. 

This living arrangement isn’t just limited to seniors, meaning retirees get to interact with different age groups—including children—which can help prevent isolation. 

Care communities

Another great option other than nursing homes is the care communities. These communities provide an independent retirement lifestyle with added low-level or high-care support.

Care communities offer additional support, such as personal support, dementia care and palliative care, to their residents as they age or their needs change. This means they never have to move to a different support setting, such as supported living or aged care home, when their needs change. You get to continue living in the same community for as long as you want to. 

Retiring doesn’t mean you can no longer live an independent lifestyle. So, a nursing home shouldn’t be your only option when figuring out your retirement living arrangement. Each of these aged care alternatives we’ve mentioned allows you to continue living independently while receiving added support and care as and when you need it. 

If you need any help with transitioning a loved one into aged care, please call 1300 944 011 and chat with one of our aged care advice experts.

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Hi, I hope you found this article useful.

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Thanks - Shane