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Why we choose to live in a retirement village

While many older Australians are spending less time living in aged care facilities, others are seeking more social interaction later in life.

Consumer directed care might be encouraging older Australians to stay out of residential aged care for longer, however, research suggests that loneliness and social isolation is also on the rise. According to the latest Productivity Commission Report on Government Services, in 2012 16.2 per cent of people aged 65 and over did not leave home as frequently as they would’ve liked. Among older Australians with a profound or severe disability, almost half (46.8 per cent) did not leave home or did not leave as often as they wished.

James Wiltshire, Strategic Operations Manager of Retirement Living for Aveo has heard all the stats and believes that living with folk of a similar age encourages residents to feel comfortable in the social side of community living.

“Remaining in the family home, typically, does not allow an ageing person to do this. As someone less able, they are less likely to step outside the door,” says James.

“In a retirement community, the staff and your neighbours do everything they can to give you a reason to step out your front door each day and do something – or do nothing at all,” he says. “A retirement community enables choice, as much as it encourages being as active as you age. ”

Retirement villages, such as Aveo, ensure independent living units are suitably designed and comfortable to live in so that this choice rests with its residents.

“We do this through providing everyone with access to physiotherapy and other allied health services, through making freshly cooked meals readily available to those who’d typically be left to fend for themselves, and by providing all with access to care and support to ensure they can maintain their independence long into their retirement within our community.”

The residents agree. Bev and her late husband moved into Aveo Melrose Park five years ago, after deciding to downsize their home. While Bev believes they should’ve moved sooner, she made up for lost time, quickly becoming part of the social committee, organising and attending fortnightly BBQ’s and Christmas in July lunches.

“I think being social is terribly important,” Bev says. “A lot of my friends outside of the village are on their own, which means they have to break into circles and find activities – here, it’s all included. There’s not a day of the week there’s not something on.”

Beryl, also speaks highly of the group she now calls her “extended family”. “I love the company I have here, always ladies to talk to,” she says. “It’s like a small village – everyone knows everyone.

“I love the company I have here, always ladies to talk to,” she says. “It’s like a small village – everyone knows everyone.

“We have quite a few social functions here also including Australia Day and Easter breakfast– we always make work for ourselves. I lived in a block where I was quite isolated before moving here. If I had stayed there I wouldn’t be as active as I am today – my family say I’m never home!

“It certainly does extend your life.”


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