Moving into an over 55s facility: How it really went

Our journey through life often has some surprising deviations. I came recently to a fork in my road which turned

Our journey through life often has some surprising deviations. I came recently to a fork in my road which turned me towards part of my family and a single residence in an Over 55 Rental facility. An upheaval of this magnitude is never going to be easy but the opportunity arose and procrastination, although it could well have been my middle name, was not to be entertained.

A map of my new domicile alerted me to the possibility of a double bed, to give me space to roll over freely, and still allow the room needed to drive a wheelchair. The adjacent toilet / shower looked perfectly suited to my needs, the small kitchen area was tempered by the nearby communal dining room/recreation area, the lounge, though small, was adequate and there were no steps to be seen anywhere. Family confirmed the dimensions shown on the map and arranged purchase of a new bed with the perfect mattress. My immediate needs were to fix up tenancy, arrange power and telephone, notify contacts of change-of-address and relocate.

Move-in Day – 5 days. Happily employing the magic of the internet, all tenancy details were finalised, most address changes notified and power arranged along with various goodbyes interspersed with the frantic pruning of a lot of Life’s Detritus.

Move-in Day – 4 days. Because I had not been aware of solar panel presence the recommended power supplier was adjusted to one more suited to this. More goodbyes and pruning.

Move-in Day – 3 days. Finally bit the bullet, stuck in a pin and selected my telephone/internet provider and took considerable of my remaining goodbye/pruning time attached to a phone and alternating between music, straining my listening ear to wonder if the line had gone dead and it occasionally confirming that I was still there.

Move-in Day – 1 day. Son-in-law went to pick up the bed to find that the mattress had been sold while it was also discovered that my new bedroom had the en-suite on the opposite side of the bed to that I favoured to get in/out of.

Mild panic: son-in-law managed to find a temporary mattress from friends and the very accommodating manager allocated the next-door unit, a mirror image, which suited my needs perfectly. My job: re-arrange power and telephone connection! During these final days my partner had managed my packing and buying some of the immediate necessities that I would require.

Move-in Day. Early start after final packing into back of wagon (trailer completed the previous day). Full tank, 300 km on a mainly 110kph freeway, set the cruise control, piece of cake! Lovely drive after a rather sad farewell until we were about 10/15 km short of our destination and our trusty steed chose to run out of fuel! At about this stage I can easily imagine my son-in-law seriously debating the merits of having his only father-in-law moving closer.

However; we finally arrived and son-in-law, along with driver (son of earlier partner) unloaded everything for one to head back to my previous location and one (guess which) to set up my new accommodation. By some stroke of fortune there was power! A quick meeting with the manager, a trip over the way to the rec/dining area and a meeting with some of the locals, something to eat, the TV working and I was ready for my first night.

Morning found me astir in good time and I went for an exploratory push along the path in front of some of the units then out on to the road and up to the gate and back to my unit. Not far but a lot further than I had pushed on my own for some considerable time. Exercise was something that I had fought bravely against for some time but, perhaps, now was the time to incorporate this into my daily program. On my return I met and was speaking with one of those met the day before when another resident joined in and mentioned that he was off to bowls. I raised my ears and asked how far he had to go for this? I then discovered that there was a bowling green next door! Well! I later went over to watch a bit of play, ask a couple of questions and begin to dream. I had, some years ago had a very enjoyable bowling career which I thought, through a combination of circumstance, had expired. Perhaps it had only been in a coma and here was a chance to resuscitate something? A very hurried message back to arrange delivery of my bowls chair and bowls.

To be continued…

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  1. You sound like you are settling in just fine there Kevin, keep us informed, a move can be an exciting adventure and a chance to make new friends

    • Kevin  

      Thanks Libbi, there should be another chapter in early January. Everything is still exciting as I move further afield on exploring forays and I am enjoying my new friends as we get to know each other better.

  2. I know it can be very daunting for some people to make such a decision as they may feel they are giving up everything in life they stand for. In fact your lifestyle can seriously improve for many of us who live alone and let’s be honest at some point some of us are going to end up alone, however living in a village has more positive benefits plus you are really not on your own unless that is what you want because there are so many interest groups for you to be involved in, you would have to be incredibly hard to please if you could not find several interests to suit you. Don’t be afraid to embrace a new stage in your life, I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Moved at 59. Mine is a small complex in Penrith, NSW. Five single story and two, two stories. LOVE it. I lived alone, still do. House was driving me nuts. Needed updating. Had a rarely used pool. Lots of grass. Moved into a brand new complex. Everything sparkling new. Say hi to neighbours. One couple (lovely) the rest women on their own. Kids and pets allowed. If your door is shut, no one knocks. Rarely does anyone bother anyone, only when they need to, yet quite happy for a chat if you both have the time. Could call on any of my neighbours if I needed to. Security gate. My hint would be don’t bring too much stuff. Live for a while with some of your old furniture then, when you are settled, spoil yourself. Buy just what you want to. Mine is now funky, very trendy (Hampton’s style) and a pleasure to live in. I worked for the first three years have just retired. Best move I have ever made. Very happy. Ah, the serenity!

    • Sounds ideal Merryn,being so small. We live in the mountains and are thinking about Shores.Hope we might see you at Panthers on Tuesday at 11 for our Starts at Sixty Coffee morning.😀

    • I have MS and it’s difficult to get there. Wish it was at the Coffee Club by the river. Suggest it please cod I’d love to come.

  4. I was incredibly greatful for my unit in an over 60’s facility. I had faced having to live with others and felt like a charity case, through no fault of my own, this was just the hand life had dealt me.
    There are fourteen units in this small complex and generally its a happy place to be.
    One neighbour haz bought things down recently but as much as this has caused a stir, I think it might be over and we can go back to our beautiful, quiet neighbourhood.
    I have created a garden which I love, and feel that finally, I have landed on my feet.

  5. Meant to say that it isn’t easy. I spent much time in the fetal position with pals deciding what to keep. What to throw what to donate. Must keep supply of chocolate and alcohol. Pack coffee machine last and unpack it first. Surround yourself with pals that have OCD. You’ll both love it!

  6. Enjoyed reading your blog Kevin. My husband is still working and our circumstances prevent us from taking up the village lifestyle but we certainly intend to do so in the not too distant future. You certainly seem to be making the most of life. Keep up the good work! 😃👍

    • mia  

      Hi Joy before moving into an over 55s make sure you do your home work………we been in one now for 18 months we have our ups and downs. cheers

  7. It all sounds very positive however, no one ever mentions the ongoing fees. Every time I think about doing this I balk at the fees. What exactly do they cover?

    • Yep we had a look and realize we just can’t afford it…. And I wouldn’t class us as poor people

    • I agree Claire, the exit fees are huge if you can manage to sell. Should you die, the weekly fees still apply until sold which could take some time. The ongoing weekly fees are usually around $150, this is a huge amount for a single pensioner.

    • Kevin  

      I hesitated because of my concept of expenses. Weekly rental ($320 also includes meals and laundry facilities) with only extras being Power and Telephone makes it very attractive to me.

    • In our Village, the fees cover Council and Water Rates, plus garden maintenance, repair and replacement of things that come as part of the unit, like air conditioner, stove, lighting and plumbing. I pay for electricity, phone, and gas.

    • Clair if you decide to down size to an over 55s please take your time and do your home work that you chose the right village……..cheers

    • Clair many big companies are buying heaps of villages out up and down the coast of NSW boarders and interstate………our one used to be privately owned…….

    • The one I live in has exit fees but I believe there is a new one nearby that has no exit fees, of course it does have body Corp as do I. Haven’t quite figured out what one is paying for with exit fees. Body Corp covers all maintenance and I’m responsible for inside things. So is it just a thanks for having me gift??????

  8. This is not for me at the moment but downsizing in a few years is likely just not a facility.

  9. A full fuel tank at the start of a 300km trip and you run out of fuel before your destination?

  10. We moved into an over 55s village 18 months ago in brisbane. Love it. So much to do, very good friends there and the fees are very doable with a rebate from the pension. Best move we ever made and won’t ever be moving again. Currently traveling and still paying the fees. Neighbors looking after the garden. Paid one of the residents a few bucks to mow the lawn, all is great. Claire Taylor in our village they cover water, council rates inclusive of rubbish pick up and use of all facilities including bowling Green, tennis courts two pools, club and all assoc activities and maintenance of grounds rink etc.

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