Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Development Types

Retirement Accommodation

Retirement Accommodation, Buderim QLD
Retirement Accommodation, Buderim Queensland
Source: Planning Institute of Australia

Australia has an ageing population and by 2056 up to one quarter of Australia’s population will be aged 65 or older.  Australia's population, like that of most developed countries, is ageing as a result of sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy.  Most older people choose to live in their own home or downsize within the same community.  However retirement accommodation increasingly is providing another housing option for the elderly.

Generally retirement accommodation provides for people over 55 years of age though the average age of residents is usually higher.  There are a variety of accommodation options which include self-care units which are either unserviced or serviced, hostels or nursing homes.  Retirement accommodation may also be stand alone villas, units or apartments.

Like the general population, older people can achieve significant health benefits from walking.  There are also a range of social and mental health benefits from having increased interaction with a range of age groups in the community through walking or using public transport. 

Retirement accommodation that is integrated into the community is well placed to encourage active living by residents including walking to facilities and using public transport.

Unfortunately some retirement accommodation is being located in areas which provide little opportunity for residents to undertake physical activity or social interaction outside of the accommodation.  Some retirement accommodation is located a considerable distance from services and activities.

When establishing retirement accommodation, consideration should be given to having the following activities within walking distance:

  • shops and services (such as medical services)
  • recreation and open space
  • transport networks especially public transport, and
  • other land uses that promote social interaction such as mixed-use development, public spaces and community uses (such as children’s activities).

Click here for more detailed information and practice advice on health and planning for Retirement Accommodation.

Download Full Text
Retirement Accommodation.pdf


Australian Local Government Association – Planning for an Ageing Community

Council on the Ageing

Department of Health and Ageing  - information on Ageing

National Ageing Research Institute

Productivity Commission – Policy Implications of the ageing of Australia’s population conference

Improving Health Outcomes for Elderly People in a Regional and Rural Environment

Related Design Principles
Environments for All People

Safety and Surveillance

Supporting Infrastructure


Last updated on 17th August, 2009

Sponsors This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.