The first weeks of life in a retirement village

meeting friends when you first move to retirement village

Moving house is a notoriously stressful event in anyone’s life, but when you move to a retirement village there can be other emotional stressors involved. Any big move or change can bring uncertainty and anxiety, it can also bring up unexpected emotions of loss and feelings of self-doubt especially as you leave a family home filled with memories. It’s important to give yourself some slack and acknowledge that it is a big event. It may help to consider all the positives of what your new life will bring.

To assist you as you consider a big move, we have spoken to some of our residents to discover what the first few days, weeks and months in a retirement village was like for them.

“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.” says Margaret from Tea Tree Gardens Retirement Village.

The first few days

The first few days you will be finding your feet and unpacking your precious belongings. When you do venture outside your front door to discover your new community, you’ll discover some friendly faces to say hello to.

Your Village Manager will also welcome you and provide you with practical information to help you settle in to your new community. This includes details of the village team, facilities and opening times, what to do in an emergency, important phone numbers and other information about life in your new community.

As you settle in, they will also let you know about the resident groups/committees and available activities that you can join if you so wish. You can then discover the village at your own pace.

“The first few days we didn’t really leave the unit, because we were busy unpacking. We’d just bump into people in the garage or the foyer, but everyone was very friendly and welcoming,” says Judy, a resident from the Verge at Burleigh Retirement Village.

The first few weeks and months

Enjoying an active life

Everyone is different and settling in make take you some time or no time at all! For some people it is about being part of a vibrant community and they’re happy to swap house and garden maintenance for spending their time doing the things they really enjoy.

This was true for Chris and Judy from the Verge, who moved from a large family home with acres of gardens.

“I found that I didn’t miss cleaning the pool. I didn’t miss doing the garden or doing the repairs,” says Chris. “Within two weeks, we felt like we had settled in. We made a point of going to every happy hour, so that we could integrate, and people could accept us to the community.”

For Judy, she says “It was a massive change, but it’s been a very happy one.”

It was a similar story for Norm and Nola at Tarragal Glen Retirement Village. When the couple first moved into the village, they loved having the gardening and maintenance team take care of everything. Instead of worrying about the mowing, they could focus on enjoying their retirement.

“We moved in and had no problems at all. It was quite easy really. There are so many activities, every day of the week! They run a recent movie every month in country club, social events and dinners. The country club has just about every activity you could want, including things such as bowls, card games, gym and much more. In fact, if you can name it, you can have it,” Norm explains.

Kitrina from Tea Tree Gardens Retirement Village says her advice for new residents is: “I recommend people find an activity, more than one if possible, and just go with it. As that is the best way to meet residents and I think the longer you wait the harder it can be to join in.”

Joining in activities is a great way to settle in a retirement village

Care and security

For some residents, the security and care a retirement village offers is why they make the move. Lorraine and Reg were pleasantly surprised when they moved into The Verge at the care and concern they received from day one.

“Moving in here was like getting a warm hug. It felt like home right from the start, and everyone has been so welcoming and friendly,” says Lorraine. “When Reg had a scare with his health, we needed people, and they were here straight away. The support and concern shown by the village team and residents has absolutely confirmed that we made the right decision by moving here.”

Tina and Norm made the decision to move to Magill Retirement Village after looking after their elderly parents. They wanted to have control over their care and feel secure about their future without being a burden.

“I’m scared of being on my own, so I have peace of mind being here. I’m so relaxed and feel safe and secure,” says Tina.

To really ensure they’re never alone and that they have the support they need to continue the life they want in the village, the couple are on a Home Care Package.

“It’s also why we’ve each got a Home Care Package, I’m on level 1 and Tina is on a level 3. To help ease our concerns of being looked after,” says Norm. “Getting the cleaning once a fortnight is the best thing we did after we moved in.”

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