When you sit down with Forresters Beach Retirement Village residents Margaret Doggett and her daughter Denise Steain, the conversation is punctuated with a great deal of laughter and reminiscing over shared memories.
The mother-daughter duo are firm friends and neighbours, having lived in the vibrant Central Coast retirement village for 17 years and two years respectively. They both love the community, but for different reasons
Margaret has a special place in the village’s history, being the longest-standing resident and the third resident to move into the community when it opened in 2004.
“I had looked at a few other villages but hadn’t found what I was looking for. My friend and I were driving past Forresters Beach and she suggested I take a look. It hadn’t even finished construction so I didn’t think it was possible. But we came and had a look around and I put down a deposit straight away,” says Margaret.
“I’ve retired completely. I love that everything gets done for you. If I have a problem with maintenance or the garden, I just call Dave [Forresters Beach’s Maintenance Manager] and he comes to fix it.
“Managing and maintaining your own home can be stressful and take a lot of time, but it’s not like that here. It’s much more relaxed.”
As for her favourite parts of village life, Margaret particularly enjoys the café, which is a buzzing social hub. She has lunch there most days over chats with a rotating roster of friendly neighbours, and says the community “would be lost without Chrissy”, the café’s dedicated barista and chef.
Bingo is also a weekly highlight, and Margaret says “there’s always something to do and someone to chat to.”
When her mum first moved in, Denise immediately turned her thoughts to her own future. “I said to myself, ‘when I retire, I’d love to live here. The villas are spacious, there’s privacy and all the gardening is done for you.’”
Fast forward 13 years, and Denise “was retired and an empty nester,” she explains. “But then the kids came home. They had a block of land and were waiting for their house to be built!”
As soon as her children’s home was finished, Denise was ready to make a move of her own, and settled into a Forresters Beach villa in late 2018, just a year after she retired.
Denise looks after her 4-year old grandson two days a week and, when she’s at home in the village, can be found in the gym, doing aqua aerobics in the pool, or at weekly meditation.
“The community is very welcoming and friendly. You can go up to anyone in the café and have a chat,” says Denise.
“Actually, the café is up there as well in terms of what I like best!”, she laughs. “I come down to see Mum after she finishes bingo, and she comes for a coffee with me after meditation. And we have lunch a couple of times a week.”
“I tried meditation at the beginning,” says Margaret. “But it starts at 8.30am on a Friday so it’s just a bit too early!”
The stylish duo share one more common interest. “The ladies are both regulars of our village hairdresser, Wendy,” explains Julie Ramage, Village Manager. “Denise has the most popular hairstyle among the village and Wendy often gets requests for something similar.”
As for those considering a move into retirement living, we’ll leave the last word up to Margaret. “The best thing I ever did was move into Forresters Beach. I just love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else.”