Many retirement villages are beautiful places to live with spacious luxury homes, heated indoor swimming pools, landscaped gardens, and 5-star social amenities.
But these are not the main reasons why people like living there.
A journalist recently spoke to several retirement village residents to find out what they love most about calling a village ‘home’. What inspired them to move into a village in the first place?
“The main reason from almost every person was far more heartfelt and human than I would have ever guessed… togetherness.”
“They were attracted by the simple sense of belonging, the sharing and celebrating of everyday life as neighbours and friends in a close-knit community.” says the journalist, Leslie Walters.
Retirement villages: a tonic for loneliness?
When you consider some of the research on seniors and loneliness, the journalists’ findings do not come as a surprise.
Up to 50% of Australians approaching retirement age are clinically depressed, and one in 10 Australian seniors (over 65s) say they ‘often or always’ feel isolated and lonely, even if they’re participating in local activities for seniors.
It’s certainly true that ageing can come with increasing levels of loneliness. The sudden passing of a lifetime partner, grown-up children leaving home to pursue careers in faraway places, the loss of long-time neighbours… it all adds up to an often isolating existence for those left behind.
The dangers of romanticising retirement
The whole experience is compounded by romantic expectations of retirement as a perfect life stage that makes the previous decades of hard work and sacrifice worthwhile. The truth is that retirement can be a time of great challenge and change.
For men, especially those who were so active in the work world, retirement can mean a sudden loss of purpose and identity. For women, on the other hand, retirement can be a time of major emotional adjustment. After a lifetime of having the house to herself, she can find it acutely stressful to suddenly have her recently retired husband ‘under her feet’ 24/7.
Even for couples who have carefully planned their retirement, it can be a time of serious adjustment. Add to this the well-known health challenges that come with ageing, and it’s easy to see why so many retirement-aged Australians are drawn to retirement villages.
Community is key
For all our personal vanities and declining social values, togetherness, it seems, is still the glue that we humans use to feel happy and whole again.
And while retirement village living may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of Pinot Gris), more people are starting to truly appreciate how villages are simply well-designed replicas of how we once all used to live: in close-knit, caring communities.
A great example of an active retirement community that truly connects with each other is Halliday Shores Retirement Village, one of the few beach-side retirement communities on the mid north coast of NSW.
If you want to know more about the lifestyle at Halliday Shores, talk to Janine on 0439 485 940.