Social distancing brings unexpected benefits to Central Coast seniors

Local retirees aren’t letting COVID-19 get in the way of their community spirit! Despite over 70s being hit particularly hard by social restrictions and strong advice not to leave their homes, residents at RetireAustralia villages on the Central Coast are using a little imagination to have fun and stay connected while maintaining social distancing.


Between covert crochet surprises and impromptu patio performances, concerns about residents being isolated and cut off from loved ones during this period of social distancing have been put to rest.


Wood Glen Retirement Village Manager, Vanessa Fordyce, says despite unprecedented challenges facing the community, the residents’ resilience and support for each other has been remarkable.


“The unique challenges presented by the pandemic have also been the inspiration for some innovative solutions, with a range of fun and heart-warming rituals established in our community during lockdown.”


Wood Glen resident, 67-year-old Sue Thomson, has sewn herself a reputation as the local ‘Heart Bomber’, crocheting coloured hearts and hiding them all over the village to bring joy to older neighbours who are finding the lockdown a little tough.


“What I’ve been doing is crocheting little hearts and in the dead of night I sneak out and put them around the village,” she said.


“Some, I tie in the trees. Some I leave in the doorstep for people who live alone. Because if you’re over 70, you’re not supposed to be out, and you’re not supposed to have visitors, that can be lonely for people.”


At Forresters Beach Retirement Village, resident village crooner Geoff Grundy has taken his weekly Tuesday jam session to the streets, serenading the community with a bevy of classic hits from his front patio, as they indulge in a few ‘bevvies’ of their own during ‘Happy Hour’ in their driveways.


Forresters Beach Village Manager Julie Ramage has been astounded by the response from her community throughout the pandemic. “There has been an overwhelming desire from our residents to help out others in the village, and to just put a smile on each other’s faces.  People have wanted to stay connected, look after their neighbours and ensure the village is still a fun place to be,” she said.


RetireAustralia villages on the Central Coast like Wood Glen, Forresters Beach, Tarragal Glen and Glengara have been doing their bit to make the lockdown easier for residents, performing regular wellbeing checks, providing assistance to access essential items such as groceries and medications and organising fun social activities which can be carried out at a safe distance.


“We know older Australians are vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness, and this can have a detrimental effect on their physical health, leading to sleep disruption, increased cortisol levels and elevated blood pressure. Particularly during this period of social distancing, we’re prioritising our residents’ mental health just as much as their physical wellbeing.


“We would ask everyone in the broader community to keep an eye out for their older neighbours, who might be isolated and lonely. Now’s the time to reach out to them, either with a call, a note, or chat over the fence. Our community is strongest when we work together and support each other,” Ms Ramage said.


Each of the four RetireAustralia retirement villages on the Central Coast in NSW offer a unique blend of stylish facilities and friendly staff, catering to an array of different lifestyles. From the sophisticated and elegant resort-style facilities at Wood Glen to the beautiful and contemporary lakeside villas at Forresters Beach, there’s a RetireAustralia community to suit all retirees on the Central Coast.



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