Decide where to live when you retire

Information and resources to help you choose where to live as you get older.

What to consider

Many people choose to upgrade their home or move to another home that better suits their needs as they age. When thinking about where you want to live as you get older, you should consider:

  • your financial situation
  • your present and future health care needs
  • if you want to stay near friends and family
  • how much room you need
  • what kind of lifestyle you want.

Housing options

Each option for where you can live has pros and cons. You should consider these when planning where you want to live as you get older.

Your existing home

If you own your own home you may want to stay there and make adjustments if needed in future. These may include installing handrails, ramps and sensor lights to make moving around the property safer. If you rent your home, you should speak to your real estate agent or landlord before making any adjustments to your home.

Moving to a smaller or more accessible home

Many people choose to downsize from their family home to something smaller. This can help them top up their retirement savings, reduce the cost of rates and utilities and reduce housework and yard maintenance. Many people also prefer to live in a property without stairs as they get older.

Retirement villages

To secure a spot in a retirement village you must be over 55 and pay an entry fee. There may also be other fees associated with your stay or departure. Retirement villages can offer purpose-built housing for older Australians, a sense of community and security.

Aged care homes

Aged care homes are also known as nursing homes and residential aged care facilities. They’re for people who need ongoing help or who can no longer live safely at home. Aged care homes are generally funded and regulated by the Australian Government, though a small number are privately owned and operated.

Each aged care home sets its own prices, within a prescribed limit, and costs will vary. How much you will have to pay depends on the place you choose and an assessment of your income and assets. Some people may be eligible for a subsidised place in an aged care home depending on their situation

Learn more about aged care homes on the My Aged Care website.

Social housing

You may be eligible for social housing. Find out about social housing in your state or territory.

Help with rent

If you’re renting and get a payment from Services Australia, or plan to rent you may be able to get Rent Assistance to help cover the costs.

If you get Age Pension

You need to tell Services Australia about any changes to your circumstances within 14 days so they can pay you the right amount. Find out more about change of circumstances if you get Age Pension on the Services Australia website.

Page last updated: 6 March 2024