Retirees resist reclusion with regular rendezvous

Residents at Boambee Gardens Retirement Village are making friends and beating social isolation with a snappily named friendship group.

Jeanette Thompson Playing Table Tennis

Not a reference to the ‘80s rock band, TOTO stands for ‘Those On Their Own’ – a monthly event offering residents living alone the chance to come together for dinner, friendship and fun.
Boambee Gardens Sales Host/Village Admin Lexi Connor said the group is a wonderful way for singles, widows and widowers to meet new people and be a part of the community.

“The group has been running very successfully so far and Betty Wright, who helped set up the group, is an absolute dynamo!”

Now 92, Betty has lived at Boambee for over ten years and previously worked in the retirement village industry, so has a good idea of what residents want.

“One time one of the ladies said to me there were a lot of us living on our own, so we started the TOTO nights from there,” she said.

“I’ve been to villages all over the country and haven’t seen anything better than this.”

Jeanette Thompson has been at the village since 2013 and has enjoyed being part of the close-knit Boambee community.

“I go to the TOTO dinners, I’ve been teaching people how to play Rummikub, I’ve been playing croquet, and learning how to play bowls,” she said.

A 2016 Property Council census of retirement villages showed that 60% of villas in retirement villages are occupied by a single resident, and 65% of residents are female.

“I moved here to meet other people, and that’s what I’ve done,” Jeanette said.

For more information about Boambee Gardens, click here

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