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A Retirement Village Lifestyle? Perception Versus Reality!

Life can be a series of stages! Some of which we simply can’t wait for. Like the independence of your own place, the job you’ve always wanted, or the arrival of your first child. But what about the retirement stage?

In our glorious youth, retirement can seem like the holy grail. Time to sleep in, time to travel, and to do all those things a busy lifestyle won’t allow. But as time passes, does the shine come off it a little? Does it become a stage we’re reluctant to embrace?

And what about a retirement village lifestyle? What are our perceptions there?

There are a number of different opinions on the subject, but there appear to be a few recurrent schools of thought;

“I’m too young for that carry on!”
Those who may have arrived at the 65-70 milestone, but still see themselves in the 45-50 bracket. Not out loud of course!

“I’m not going into a ‘home!’”
Visions of nursing homes from 50 years ago, or stories in the media, are a little hard to shift!

“It’s just not for me!”
Those who are rattling around a large house, with the garden becoming more and more demanding but, ‘I’m just not ready!’

In fact, you might relate to more than one of these schools of thought. As Jim and Kath discovered on their retirement journey.

Jim and Kath had been living in their five-bedroom Wheelers Hill house for over 30 years. It was the family home, complete with a pool and large garden. Both of which had become a burden to maintain.

The couple were already considering downsizing, however the tricky part, was finding the perfect replacement and staying in their local area.

Kath had driven past the construction site that would become Ryman Healthcare’s Weary Dunlop Retirement Village in Wheelers Hill. She was intrigued by what she saw. However, Jim wasn’t sold on the idea of a retirement village lifestyle. 

It wasn’t until a close friend asked Jim to join him on a tour of Weary Dunlop, that Jim began to change his mind. And as the saying goes, ‘seeing is believing!’

“Ignorance is bliss,” Jim explained. “You think you know what something is, and it isn’t. I’d walked past a few times and thought, ‘nah, this is not for me’ but I didn’t really know what they had.”

Kath simply explains, “He came home, and he was sold on the place.”

What Jim had experienced, was the Ryman difference. He had seen for himself what a Ryman village could offer, and how his current lifestyle could transition quite easily into a retirement village lifestyle.

Their plan to downsize and remain in the Wheelers Hill community became a reality, with the availability of a three-bedroom ground-level apartment. And it was immediately clear to Jim how having aged care on site would be a clever way of planning for their future, whilst also looking out for their daughters.

Ryman Healthcare Facilities

“I’ve seen it happen where someone has had to look after an elderly parent for 10 years, 15 years and I thought ‘no way’. We’ll be self-sufficient and won’t have to worry about it. That, to me, was a huge thing,” Jim explains.

“We didn’t want our daughters’ lives disrupted by having to look after us, and we’ve got carers here if we need them.”

Not only had Jim and Kath found a new home at the village, they also found a new community. Since making the move, the couple have experienced a strong culture of support, where residents look out for each other. If someone is unwell, or had a bereavement, fellow residents rally around. As Kath explained, it’s quite a different scenario when you’re still living in the family home.

“You live in big houses, in big streets [outside the village] and you don’t talk to your neighbours,” Kath says. “You might give a bit of a wave when you’re collecting your mail or mowing the lawn, but I just feel so much more social here. You walk out in the hallway and it’s ‘Hi Kath’, and you have a bit of a chat.

“You’d go through some days at home when I was retired and not talk to anybody.”

Jim and Kath’s experience is not uncommon. Sometimes our perceptions can thwart reality. This is often the case with perceptions of retirement villages. Jim’s change of heart upon visiting a Ryman Healthcare village, is a scenario Ryman see on a regular basis.   

Ryman was founded 35 years ago, when co-founder Kevin Hickman, thought about what he’d want for his own mother. He set one simple standard for the care Ryman provide:
It’s got to be good enough for Mum.

Ryman Healthcare Retirement Village

Today, Ryman not only uphold that same standard, they continue to raise the bar in retirement living and aged care.

Ryman offer some of the most resident-friendly and transparent terms in Australasia, with agreements written in plain language so they are easy for everyone to understand.

Leading innovation is something that Ryman are becoming renowned for. Seasonal Delicious menus are made fresh on site by in-house village chefs.

Care plans come to life through a custom-built electronic care app, myRyman. It enables nurses and carers to see and record information about each resident, right there at the bedside. In 2019, myRyman was named the Innovation of the Year – Care Model at the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards in Singapore.  

As Jim learned from his tour, Ryman villages provide care options to suit your needs. From independent living and assisted living in a serviced apartment, to low care, high care and specialist dementia care. All within the same village community.

It wasn’t something Jim was actively seeking, but his visit to a Ryman village opened his eyes to the fact that having care on site for the future, was a smart move all round.

So, regardless of which family of thinkers you belong to – “I’m too young for that carry on”, “I’m not going into a ‘home’,” or “It’s just not for me” ­– Ryman encourage you to find out for yourself what a retirement village lifestyle is really like.

Compare terms with other retirement village providers, visit their aged-care centre, and join in with the activities or events on offer. That way, you’ll obtain a real appreciation of the village community, and whether you can see yourself living there.  

Like Jim and Kath, you might surprise yourself at just how much you love it.

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