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Retirement villages are more than just a collection of homes, they are truly a space where connections are forged and lives are transformed.
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16 November 2022
| Retirement Living
"One of the things that makes my job so remarkable is witnessing how residents blossom when they become part of the supportive community at The Gracewood Community Retirement Village in Kellyville. It is much more than just a collection of homes, this truly is a space where connections are forged and lives are transformed."
Nowhere is that more evident than in the story of Bill Heinrich, who moved into The Gracewood Community, Kellyville last year. Initially Bill and his wife June planned to move together, but sadly, she passed away before that could happen.
“Only six weeks before I moved into The Gracewood community, I had watched the box containing the earthly remains of my wife solemnly lowered into the ground,” explains Bill. “I had got through the day in a state of mental and emotional somnambulism, which even I recognised as the result of being confronted by just how unforgiving our world is.”
It took more than six months for Bill to feel like he was on an even keel – and this community is what helped him get there.
“I think that much of that improvement is largely due to the many kindnesses that I have found here,” he says.
His first day at The Gracewood retirement village was filled with delightful encounters that made a real impression. He recalls: “Sitting alone with my first morning coffee on my terrace, and being surprised by a new neighbour who poked her head over my wall, introduced herself and welcomed me to the community.”
Over the following weeks and months, Bill was delighted to find residents greeting him in the lift, corridors and lobbies, and stopping on the paths to greet him and take a real interest in his welfare. He also noticed that if he was sitting alone in the café, he would always be invited to join others. That care and kindness, he says, is extended to everyone at The Gracewood Community.
“I have seen and been on the receiving end of the thoughtfulness shown to those with disabilities, and those whose speech is faltering, or whose minds are less nimble,” he says. “For example, seeing good card players being patient with poor players at 500 on a Wednesday. Watching the patience people show to others is inspirational.”
Although Bill’s journey started from a place of sadness, his transition to becoming an invaluable member of community is a wonderful example of how a move to The Gracewood Community retirement village can be life-changing.
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