A balance of independence and socialisation is a sought-after aspect for people searching for an ideal retirement village, and in times such as the one we currently face, this balance is paramount.
For many people, there is comfort found in alone time, while being able to be part of a community and having a support system around you brings peace of mind.
Brightwater Care Group Kingsway Court Retirement Village General Manager Commercial Services Darren Woolcott said there were characteristics to look out for to ensure there was an adequate sense of community and independence, which was important in the current climate, as the need to retreat was one of necessity rather than preference.
“Due to COVID-19 many of the usual activities the residents of Kingsway Court would take part in such as visiting the cafe, bowls, swimming, group dinners and other get togethers have had to stop” Mr Woolcott said.
“However, residents have found ways to keep in contact while social distancing, including phoning their friends and neighbours for regular chats.”
Seniors Own Real Estate Sales Consultant Caryl Sutrisno said although times were currently challenging, there were a range of benefits that living in a retirement community provided such as preventing feelings of isolation.
“The village management is a central point for providing information, the community of neighbours provides a much needed support mechanism, residents will generally not feel isolated and can feel confident they have a supportive network around them in a time of need,” she said.
“Many resident committees have initiated rosters for shopping, as well as helping neighbours who cannot get out or whose family members can no longer visit due to self-isolation requirements.”
Ms Sutrisno said for the time being, policies had been implemented which prohibited the use of facilities such as pools and gyms, while functions and communal activities have also stopped.
“Hand sanitiser is provided around the villages, with more rigorous cleaning regimes being implemented. It is requested that residents practise social distancing and restrictions on visitors to the village have also been put in place,” she said.
MYVISTA CEO Irene Mooney said in these times it was important residents knew there were people around who cared, even if it was just a wave from the front porch or driveway.
“As we all work through the COVID-19 pandemic there is great strength and support being drawn from the people living in the village, there family and friends and MYVISTA team,” she said.
“It’s just the same as if you lived in a home, but if people haven’t seen you for a few days or you’re not feeling great about something, the community will come around and support you.
“I think that’s really important for older people to know there are people there who care about them.
“Older people have a lot to offer during times of change and crisis, they have years of diverse experience and wisdom, which is important to remain positive and optimistic.”
When the current landscape becomes easier to navigate, you may be on the lookout for a retirement villa to experience this balance of independence and community support.
Mr Woolcott said some things to look out for was the design of the home or villa, and to ensure they were standalone homes with a nice streetscape to enhance the neighbourly feel and provide the ability to connect with other residents if so desired.
“Prospective residents should speak to current residents to get an insight into village life” he said.