I’m known as a real cat lover amongst my friends, and since my beautiful cat died last year I am now more able to do some cat sitting for people.
One of my book club friends who recently moved with her husband to a lifestyle village mentioned she had friends there who wished to go on holiday but would love their precious cat to be cared for in their own home.
They offered me a reasonable amount to cover my travel expenses and so off I went with my little suitcase in my not so flash car.
As it is a gated village, I was let in with a code. The houses were all modern and very neat with beautiful gardens. I was taken on a tour by the cat owners and was impressed by how friendly the residents were as they strolled the leafy streets.
Although not a fan of lawn bowls, the green looked enticing. Also, the huge heated swimming pool with a bubbling spa in the corner was calling to me.
A clubhouse that looked like a resort had a cinema, library, community kitchen and bar. A well-equipped gym also looked amazing. The list of activities was huge, but I left the bingo and aqua aerobics and more to the residents.
After my new friends left for their long-awaited holiday, I settled in with the very purry and friendly cat. She had a strict feeding regime but tried unsuccessfully to convince me that she was not being fed enough.
The house itself was spacious and comfy with a beautiful kitchen and excellent bathrooms. Each house had its own unique patio out the back. I enjoyed a wine or two most evenings as the sunset.
Most days I would do a few walks if I was not out and about elsewhere. Always a friendly wave from other residents, and in the spa and pool I had quite a few friendly chats.
There were early morning cycling groups, others going off to play bowls or just sitting in one of the welcoming arbours sharing wine and a barbecue with old and new friends.
One early evening walk showed the residents all sitting outside on the street having a glass of wine together while being observed by some puzzled-looking kangaroos.
I often think you have to live or stay in a place for a while to really get to know it, and while a lifestyle community is not really for me, I really enjoyed my time there.
One thing that made me smile was that I thought one morning that gosh, there are so many old people here – and then I had to giggle as I am old also, and so I was fitting in well.
My conclusion is that if you’re looking for a new way to live or downsize when health issues or a partner’s demise requires finding a new home, then I’d say check out a lifestyle village as it might suit you and your needs. Also, the one I stayed in had residences that you owned outright, so could sell and not lose any money in fees.
The only thing I would have loved as an extra would have been a cafe for my morning coffee, but hey, a short drive into the nearby beach village soon sorted that out.
And I will miss my furry companion, but apparently, they will want me back again as our arrangement worked out so well. Win-win I say. We both got holidays and I got to live with a cat again.