Education & Training:
Building & Amenities:
In this column, INsite chats with residents of different retirement and aged care facilities.
Carol lives at Evelyn Page Retirement Village with her husband Dink.
INsite: What prompted your decision to move into a retirement village?
Carol: Friends of ours had recently moved into one of Evelyn Page Retirement Village’s town houses at Orewa. Until then, we had not given a moment’s thought to selling our big two-storey house.
INsite: Did you consider any alternatives to Evelyn Page?
Carol: Until our friends moved, we really hadn’t considered any other villages but then looked at the local ones and read about others from the newspapers but none had all the facilities that Evelyn Page had, and of course, one of the major factors was the low “set in concrete weekly fee for the rest of our lives”.
INsite: What factors did you take into account when making the decision to move into retirement village living?
Carol: Rather than waiting until we were older and reaching the stage where we would not be able to look after ourselves and/or the house, we felt now would be an ideal time to move whilst we could still enjoy getting about.
To see our friends not having to worry about mowing, weeding, gardening, painting, maintenance issues, etc. made us really think about relocating. Add the factor that our weekly fee would remain the same for the rest of our lives as opposed to rates going up every year, no water rates to pay, and no building insurance to pay made us really start to think about our future.
Then we realised that this particular village also catered for and had rest home, hospital, and dementia facilities so that if anything happened to either of us, we were within walking distance and we would still be living in the same environment, that is, Hibiscus Coast, with our same friends nearby, same shopping centre, doctor, dentist, and so on.
Our friends were already in the village, and as a result of our enquiries, showed that there were weekly “Happy Hours”, morning and afternoon tea , van outings, twice yearly Christmas dinners, and various other functions throughout the year put on by the village for free, as well as weekly “fine dining” at a nominal cost, which I have to admit is as good as any city restaurant could provide.
This didn’t stop us from still having our own personal social activities. Since we have been in the village, all of these activities and functions have proved to be true as well as a lot more. We have movie days/evenings, access to the library and computer, and swimming and spa pools. We have a hairdressing salon, pedicure, etc. on site.
I am part of a choir the residents have created. Others have become involved in bowls, card games, mahjong, Trivial Pursuit, and so much else that for the first time, I have to keep a diary of what is happening. One of the main social benefits is the number of genuine friends that we have met since our arrival. It is really a pleasure to enjoy their company when meeting while walking about or at any of the activities that are always going on.
INsite: What role did your immediate family play in this decision process and how do they feel about you living at Evelyn Page? Do they live nearby and do you see them often?
Carol: Since our arrival in the village just over a year ago, we have two other sons in Australia who we have been to visit, and we have our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter living on the North Shore, and we see them quite often. It is a real pleasure to be able to have them stay with us on occasions, to have our granddaughter to ourselves, and to take her swimming in the safety of the village is sheer joy to us.
When we discussed this with our family, they all agreed with our decision. A major concern we had was that as we grew older we did not want to be a burden on our family, for them to have the concerns of looking after us. This way we still had contact with them but were secure in the knowledge that our personal care and needs could be catered for within the village environment.
INsite: It’s clear you love the lifestyle at Evelyn Page. Have there been any negative aspects to retirement village living?
Carol: Initially, I missed my large rose garden where we were living, but I now have my own smaller but manageable one on the patio and immediately outside my apartment door. Although I like to look after it, the village gardeners also do a lot of the weeding and mowing so I can really enjoy gardening.
Apart from that, we really can’t find fault with our current lifestyle.
INsite: What advice would you give to people thinking about options for retirement?
Carol: To seriously weigh up the financial benefits and lack of worry about rates, insurance maintenance, etc. The relief your family must have about not worrying about your future, like you would have had with your parents. The care and social benefits that the village lifestyle brings and while maintaining your freedom and independence – both within and outside the village.
Pixie, 87, is a resident at Rawhiti Lodge, a rest home in Matamata.
INsite: How long have you lived at Rawhiti Lodge?
Pixie: I’ve been here for about six years, I think.
INsite: What made you choose Rawhiti Lodge?
Pixie: When I lived in my own home (in Matamata) I used to visit many of my friends at Rawhiti. I was familiar with the home, and I always knew I wanted to come and live here when the time came to leave my own home.
INsite: What were the main changes to your life after you first moved from home to rest home?
Pixie: Day-to-day life became easier. Basic things like showering and dressing became easier and quicker. I also found myself around people all the time, which took some getting used to – but this was a good thing ... most of the time!
INsite: Do you miss your home and independence?
Pixie: I do miss being independent, but I am very fortunate to have family who take me back to my home every weekend to spend time there. There is more space for my great-grandkids to play there too, although they enjoy visiting me here at Rawhiti.
INsite: How do you feel about rest home life in general?
Pixie: I feel very lucky to be here. The care is terrific.
INsite: Have the staff been helpful since you had your leg amputated?
Pixie: They have been excellent. I had my leg amputated above the knee about a year ago, and I was released from Waikato [Hospital] earlier than expected as I had good support in place. They have been very good at helping me come to grips with my fancy new wheelchair. Actually, just this morning, they have been helping me sort out a wobbly wheel.
INsite: Some rest homes experience a lot of staff turnover. Is this the case at Rawhiti?
Pixie: I don’t think so. I know everyone here and they all look after me well.
INsite: What sort of activities are on offer?
Pixie: There is always something happening! There is bingo, indoor golf, a monthly church service, and a happy hour where we are entertained by local singers. We go to Friendship Circle. There are lots of outings. In spring, we went to see blossoms in bloom in town and to see calves on a dairy farm.
INsite: Does everyone join in?
Pixie: You can choose how much you want to join in and interact with everyone. Some of us are social, others prefer to keep to themselves.
Note: your email address will not be displayed