Australia is one of several countries with an aging population. It has become an attractive retirement destination. Sustained low fertility rates and increasing life expectancy are the reasons for the ageing of Australia’s population. Over the 20 years between 1999 and 2019 the proportion of the country’s population aged 65 years and over has increased steadily. This age group is projected to increase more rapidly over the next decade. Expats planning to retire in Australia should consider several factors.
Quality of life for seniors
The government of Australia is taking several steps to make life easier for the growing percentage of seniors. The mobility of seniors is facilitated by making transportation more accessible. Mobility aids like wheelchairs, scooters, walking frames, prams, and strollers help seniors safely board and disembark. All metro, light rail, most trains, buses, and ferries will have accessibility features. Assistance animals are allowed on public transport.
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) provides funding for seniors. It aims to support seniors in staying independent and living in their own homes for longer. The funding also provides for accessible community transport services through specialized providers. Seniors are also entitled to a senior’s card. It offers discounts on transport and other services. These features make it easier for seniors to get out and about, and engage with the community.
Vast communities of migrants live and work in Australia. Their priority is to send international money transfers to support their families back home with remittances. Under the current Australian law expat retirees must have at least 10 years of residence in Australia before they can claim pension. Many countries have social security agreements with Australia. Expats from these nations can claim their pensions from other countries in Australia.
Australia has high standards of healthcare services and offers a great quality of life. Public health services are available to retirees in the form of Medicare. Expat retirees can claim it depending on the visa type. Expats can also buy health insurance. There are Government-funded aged care services. They include in-home care, residential care in aged care (nursing) homes, and short-term care such as respite care.
Attitudes and impressions
Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. According to the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index survey conducted by Deakin University, retirees in Australia reported their wellbeing at an average of more than 80 points out of 100. This is higher than the wellbeing of non-retirees at 76 points. In 2020 Australia ranked 7 on the Global Retirement Index while the US ranked at 16.
Seniors in Australia engage in several activities to keep themselves busy. Swimming, volunteering, walking, gardening, and art therapy are popular. There are also seniors’ clubs like the gardening club, where seniors can meet and interact.
According to the Australian human rights commission, one of the challenges senior Australians face is ageism. 35% of Australians aged between 55 and 64 said that they have experienced some form of discrimination because of their age, the most common being turned down for a job.
The average cost of living for an expat in Sydney, the country’s most expensive city, is 1,440 AUD monthly excluding rent. Care homes in Australia generally cost AUD 19,100 per year. This includes meals, cleaning, facilities management, and laundry services. Expat retirees can buy homes in Australia. This requires government approval and might attract some additional taxes. The average price of a home is AUD 13,200 per sqm in expensive cities like Sydney and AUD 4,600 per sqm in affordable cities like Adelaide. The average rent is AUD 2,600 for a 1-bedroom apartment in Sydney and AUD 1,400 in Adelaide. Health insurance for seniors in Australia costs about AUD 3,600 on average per person annually.
Senior expats can benefit from the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. This is a Federal Government scheme aimed at providing cheaper healthcare and discounts. Some benefits include cheaper prescription medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, bulk-billed doctor visits, and higher Medicare refunds on out-of-hospital costs.
The overall senior experience
Diverse pollution-free landscapes, friendly locals, and unique cultural experiences add to the attraction of Australia as a retirement destination. The human development index score of Australia is 0.947, among the world’s highest. It is a generally safe place to live with a low crime rate. Overall Australia offers a good environment for expats to retire.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.