With an average age of 81, the incidence of dementia in retirement villages is increasing – so what are your rights if you, your partner or your parent is diagnosed with dementia in the village?

The good news is that a resident cannot be made to leave the village if they have a dementia diagnosis.

In recent years, some village operators have inserted provisions into their contracts that if a resident’s health or cognition declines to a point that they can no longer live safely in the village and they refuse to leave, the operator can take the resident to the tribunal seeking to terminate for breach of contract.

But these provisions are likely to be unenforceable, according to Robin Lyons, Partner at law firm MinterEllison and the leader of its national retirement villages practice – and the tribunal is typically reluctant to terminate your right to live in the village.

There are provisions in some Retirement Village Acts giving operators rights to terminate a contract based on a resident’s care needs.

In the Queensland Act, for example, there is a provision that if an ACAT team who has assessed a resident’s care needs reasonably believes the resident’s type of accommodation is now unsuitable for them, the operator can terminate their contract on two months’ notice.

But the provision doesn’t compel a resident to agree to an assessment.

However, if you do suspect your partner or parent has dementia, the best course of action is to make an appointment with their doctor so the GP can arrange an assessment of their cognition.

For more information about how on dementia testing and diagnosis, you can contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 24/7 for expert information, advice and support.