Retirement marks one of the biggest milestones in life. Not simply because of the decisions about what we will do with this new freedom, but because our networks of family, friends and colleagues are also changing. Friends disperse, the family grows up, neighbours move.
In this new ‘COVID-normal’ world of lockdowns and isolation, the value of friendships and community has taken on even more significance to the Baby Boomer generation as they consider how to live their best life in retirement. And like Baby Boomers always have done, they know what they want.
Phillip Sellwood, Manager of Carinity Retirement Villages, says that social support is one of the key factors for older Australians thinking of moving to a retirement village.
“A well-planned residential facility ticks the boxes of security; of spacious, well-maintained and pleasant accommodation; and excellent facilities. But equally important to people is making friends and being part of a community,” Phillip says.
“We are committed to nurturing thriving communities which meet the social and spiritual needs of the people who live there. That’s when a house becomes a home.”
Barbara has been a resident at Carinity Brownesholme for nearly six years. She didn’t know anyone before moving in. She chose Brownesholme because she loved the trees and the fact that you can’t see into anyone’s yard.
“I had no problem settling in. I live on a particularly friendly street but you can be private if you want to.”
Barbara enjoys the activities such as bowls, exercise and socialising, but it’s the sense of looking out for each other that makes her feel part of a caring community.
“We keep a check on our neighbours. If I don’t pull my window up in the morning, someone will rush over!”
She has developed a close friendship with Mary.
“We do look after each other,” agrees Mary. “It’s great having friends here, and there are many different people, so you learn a lot and develop new skills such as art, card games and mahjong.”
For Bev and her husband, retirement living has freed them from the burden of maintaining a large house. They’ve been able to travel to New Zealand, along with Margaret, a close friend that Bev has made since living at Brownesholme.
“Moving in was the best thing we ever did,” says Bev. “We don’t want to look after a big place. We love it here.”
“Living here is about quality of living, it’s a beautiful place to enjoy our retirement – friendly and secure.”