After enduring the gloom of COVID-19 for the past two years, Australian retirees are now planning to embrace life through improving their health, tackling daredevil activities, enjoying holidays and even finding love.

These are the results of a survey of 4,380 retired and independent adults aged 55 and over, commissioned by retirement living provider Lendlease.

The survey shows the pandemic has prompted 51 per cent of the Australian retiree population to take actions to improve their health.

Of these retirees, some 34 per cent are seeking to enhance their diet, with other priorities including improving fitness (27 per cent), reducing alcohol consumption (14 per cent) or quitting smoking (three per cent).

A new Lendlease report says more retirees are looking to improve their health and lifestyle

Meanwhile, around 37 per cent of retirees want to try a daring or adventurous activity in the next two years, conditions permitting. 

Of these retirees, over a quarter of (26 per cent) are setting their sights on an adventurous holiday while others expressed an interest in trying hot air ballooning (seven per cent), getting a tattoo (five per cent) or trying out motorbike riding (four per cent).

Adventure sports such as surfing are high on the lists of today's retiree, a survey has found

Two per cent would like to try surfing or skydiving, and a small but committed handful (one per cent) would consider getting a body piercing or bungy jumping.

Interestingly, the survey also finds that those living in retirement villages are more likely than those living elsewhere to say they have become more outgoing or adventurous (39 per cent compared to 25 per cent).

Lendlease Retirement Living Managing Director Nathan Cockerill: “Health has been at the forefront of peoples’ minds these past two years and supporting residents to live well is incredibly important to us, so it’s great to see Australian retirees keeping their health and wellbeing in check. 

It’s fantastic to know Australian retirees are looking forward to making the most of life by chasing their sense of adventure and ticking off their bucket lists once conditions permit. 

“There are a handful of retirees more daring than me – I don’t plan on hot air ballooning or sky diving any time soon, but maybe that will change when I reach retirement.” 

Retirees also looking for love

The survey also finds close to one in ten (seven per cent) retirees are looking to find love in the next two years. 

Other things retirees would like to spend their retirement savings on include home renovations (19 per cent), a new/newer car (13 per cent), charity donations (7 per cent), early inheritance for family (four per cent) and a caravan (two per cent).

According to the survey, if there were no limitations, the inspirational items on the bucket list for some of the country’s retirees include:

  • Sitting with mountain gorillas in Rwanda
  • Riding the Ho Chi Minh trail
  • A trip to Antarctica via Patagonia
  • Starting a small business
  • Opening a rescue farm for animals
  • Getting married
  • Learning the piano or guitar and learning to fly. 

Lendlease says it has seen an increased interest in retirement living nationally since the start of the pandemic, having received its highest level of reservations from the last five years in 2020-21 across both new and established villages. 

In recent months this trend has continued in the country’s non-lockdown states, and NSW and Victoria are re-establishing momentum as sales appointments are made possible again. 

Comment from our CEO

Downsizing.com.au CEO Amanda Graham said the Lendlease survey highlighted the growing number of over 55s who see their retirement as an opportunity for fun, activity and adventure and good health.

“The Baby Boomer and emerging Gen X generations - more so than the generation before them - see their retirement years as a chance to get out and enjoy all the good things that life can provide, rather than as a time to simply settle down,” she said. “Their attitude is very different to that of their parents’ generation and they are definitely breaking down the old stereotypes about what older people are expected to do.”

“After decades of working and supporting families, it’s hardly surprising this new breed of retirees are taking this attitude. They are determined to enjoy their freedom from responsibility and live their best life.”

“Importantly, these new retiree generations have had the benefit of many years of economic prosperity and decades of rising home prices to help fund this lifestyle.”

Ms Graham said the survey also illustrated that over 55s now saw retirement villages as a launchpad for their adventures, by freeing up their home equity and paying down debt, as well as supporting their active and healthy lifestyle and providing a ‘lock up and leave’ home environment in a community setting.