‘Retirement’ can mean so many different things. For some, it can signal a new challenge of how to maintain independence, for others it can be an exciting time to try new things. And for many, it can mean looking for a new place to call home.
Retirement was looming for Virginia and Wolfgang. Having worked for over 40 years, the thought of all that free time was overwhelming. What would they do?
What wouldn’t they do was the better question.
Retirement communities are designed with seniors in mind. That means conveniences and amenities abound. While convenience can mean a variety of activities, it also could be an onsite restaurant, a pool, a community garden, or in terms of location, nearby to a local hospital or shopping centre. Homes are thoughtfully designed and are usually fitted with easy-to-reach cabinet doors, higher toilets, open and single-level floor plans, among many other simple changes that make senior living easier. For added peace of mind, Aveo properties feature a 24-hour, in-home emergency call system for residents.
Virginia’s and Wolfgang’s lives outside the community are still full. They say that they have gotten even busier since moving in.
“Our lives are pretty much the same since we moved in, but with more activities. We play Bridge. We go to the Bridge club. I play twice a week and Wolfgang, once. My friend and I played before we started the Monday night group. Yes, we have a Monday night Bridge group, can you believe it?” Virginia said.
“It’s those kinds of things that help.”
“I go to book club still, at another community actually. I’ve got so many friends in communities, everywhere. It’s great to be able to do all the activities I did before I moved in, like book club, and it is nice to be able to continue to do them. I think people need to know that. It’s your home to come and go as you please.”
The slow creep of loneliness was the main reason for Virginia and Wolfgang decided to step into retirement living. Well, that and security.
“It was the big empty house. I did convince Wolfgang to move. I looked at other communities and had my heart set on another village but after touring there, I absolutely hated [the other village]. The outside was so divine. but the layouts of the [other village’s] villas meant there was no privacy,” said Virginia.
Virginia and Wolfgang lived in their family home for 47 years. Their street was full of children, they had real connections with all of their neighbours and they would see them all the time. Gradually the children grew up and people moved away, and they never saw their neighbours after that. What was once their neighbourhood ended up being a big empty house, in a street of strangers.
They knew they needed to make a change. Moving into a retirement village meant they would be able to continue to live independently with care services at hand, should they need them.
“So many friends have said to me, before we moved into Aveo Domainé, ‘Oh what are you going to do there? Mix with all the old people?’ But really all it is, is that you are moving to a different house. You still have all your old friends, from outside the village, they can come to your house, come for a visit, and stay and you go out with them too. And the attitude [from friends] was ‘oh, no I wouldn’t do that, you are all locked in,’ but I say that’s all rubbish,” Virginia said.
“I have not regretted moving for a minute!” Wolfgang says.
Let’s face it, change is hard. For Wolfgang, this wasn’t a decision he took lightly but he challenges everyone to think about their lives as they age.
“Every time someone comes here for a tour and the team brings them down to the Men’s Shed [Workshop], I’m most likely there. They always say, ‘I’m not sure about this kind of living’. I don’t know what they expect. Others say, ‘Oh I’m not old enough.’ They are in their late 70s. I always think, how old do you think you have to be to come? It’s not aged care.”
“Everyone said we were too young to come. And we weren’t young. I was 70 and Virginia was 72 when we moved in!”
How senior community living changed Virginia and Wolfgang
“It’s just lovely to know, especially when you have been here a while, that you know so many people and no matter where you go, they are there. You can always find someone and stop to have a chat with. That’s a community for me. It’s like a little country town,” Virginia said.
“It’s so easy when you want to go away. You just shut the door and leave. It’s not like you have to look after the mail, organise someone to look after your house while you’re gone, or water the garden—none of that. You just go,” Wolfgang says.
“In a way, it’s a much better way of living.”
Virginia and Wolfgang enjoy living independently in their retirement community, where their family and friends can come to visit, the team cares and supports everyone who calls Aveo home, and they are free to explore new passions and experiences.
See what you are missing, at an Aveo community. Book a tour and find out how a senior living community can change you.