The right decision for me

Margaret had driven past Tea Tree Gardens Retirement Village for 18 months before she made the decision to turn into the entrance and take a look for herself.

Reflecting at Tea Tree Gardens
Margaret reflecting on her decision to move to Tea Tree Gardens

As an organised and self-sufficient individual, moving from her family home on a large block in Hope Valley was not part of her plan. But a series of unexpected events caused Margaret to reconsider.

The turning point  |  Doing the math
Home is where the heart is  |  A support network  |  Life goes on

After nursing her husband Kevin for four years, she made the tough decision that he move into a nursing home so he could have around the clock care.

“He is my world and I would do anything for him. These days he’s not in a good place – he has dementia and is unsteady on his feet. But he is still with me which I’m grateful for.” said Margaret.

The turning point

With Kevin in a nursing home and her four children living on the other side of Adelaide and interstate, Margaret started thinking about her own future.

Her eyesight was deteriorating and she had recently had major surgery, so she was pragmatic about the possibility of needing more support in the future.

“The big house was lonely and was echoing around me. I was burdened with maintenance and gardening and thinking about what might happen to me.” she said.

Margaret weighed up leaving her beloved family home with wanting a future on her own terms.

Tea Tree Gardens Retirement Village was in her local suburb and a short walk from Kevin’s nursing home. It was also close to a hospital, shopping centre and other facilities she used. So she rationalised that if she did move into the village her life would mostly continue as is.

Margaret and Kevin

Margaret had also heard that home care services were available in the village. Given what had happened with Kevin, this was an important consideration. She wanted to know she would be cared for by people she knew and trusted if she became unwell.

But she really didn’t want to leave her family home of 40 years.

One day, after seeing Kevin at the nursing home, she plucked up the courage to visit the village.

She speaks fondly of her first meeting with the Village Manager, Lucy.

“Her concern, her generosity, and her care to help me shift from a big home with lots of memories into something that had no memories – it was incredible,” Margaret said.

Doing the math

Margaret was also apprehensive about the cost of living in a retirement village. She put Lucy through her paces, asking numerous questions about the ingoing, ongoing, and outgoing fees.

“I added up all the costs that I was going to have to pay by being in a village and I found that they were not as extensive as maintaining my own home,” said Margaret.

The next hurdle was selling the family home. Initially, Margaret had concerns about not getting a good price for it and then not being able to get into the village.

However, as most retirement village properties are priced at 80% of the median local house price, the sale of Margaret’s family home covered the ingoing cost of moving into the village with ample capital left over to fund a comfortable retirement.

Home is where the heart is

Quilting in the privacy of her home

Margaret and Kevin had saved and worked hard to build their family home on a corner block over 40 years ago. It held many happy memories of precious time spent together raising two sons and a daughter and then welcoming seven grandchildren into the world.

Margaret loved her family home and was very upset about leaving it. But with several health concerns, she knew that she had to act decisively to stay in control of her own life.

 “When I drove out past the front of our home, I never looked back. I kept thinking, it’s only a building.

The memories we have made in that building, and in that yard, are in my heart and in my head. I will always have them” she said.

Margaret was pleasantly surprised by the size and layout of the homes in the village.  As an avid quilter, space to pursue her hobby was important so she opted for one of the bigger homes with a spare bedroom, an attached garage, and plenty of storage.

While downsizing was a huge challenge, which Margaret tackled all on her own, she’s very content with her home in the village. She has converted the garage and the spare room into sewing spaces and has three cupboards brimming with fabric.

A support network

Chatting to neighbours

Margaret is matter-of-fact about her health. She’s had major surgery and her eyesight isn’t what it used to be.

She’s already used the PERS (short for Personal Emergency Response Service) button in her home in the village. She wasn’t feeling at all well, and Lucy sat with her until the ambulance arrived. Margaret wonders how things would have turned out if she had been on her own at home.

Since Margaret has been at Tea Tree Gardens, Jemma from the Home Care team  has also helped her get a Level 2 Home Care Package.

“Jemma was so helpful and supportive in taking me through all the paperwork which I found overwhelming. I couldn’t have done it without her,” said Margaret.

Margaret now gets her house cleaned and her meals delivered. Also, given her eyesight, she has the option of getting someone to drive her to appointments.

Life goes on

Family is everything to Margaret. Kevin is the love of her life, and with her children having flown the nest, her routine centres around making the three-minute walk to visit her husband as often as she can.

Since moving into the village Margaret has kept in touch with her friends of many years and also made a few new ones. In fact, one of her former neighbours, and a fellow quilter, has now moved into the community and joined their village quilting group.

Margaret enjoys a daily walk in the safe and beautiful surrounds of the village gardens and while she mostly keeps to herself, she enjoys saying hello to her neighbours and sharing a yarn from time to time.

“Living in this village has really not changed my lifestyle a great deal. We’ve always lived in Hope Valley and I’ve just been able to carry on.
I have never, ever regretted it.” she says.


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