Patricia, a resident at BaptistCare’s Angus Bristow Village in Elderslie, shares her experiences of retirement living for anyone considering the move.
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30 October 2023
| Retirement Living
Patricia is celebrating her first anniversary of retirement living, having recently downsized from her family home to Angus Bristow Retirement Village in October 2022. At 87 years old, she says it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
We spoke to Patricia about the benefits of retirement living, her experience of downsizing, and what advice she’d give to others considering the move.
I loved my old family home in Toongabbie, Greater Western Sydney, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain – particularly the gardening. My husband died a long time ago, and my daughters had left home, so it was just me rattling around this big house.
One day, the penny dropped, and I thought, why not move to a retirement village? I can still live independently while enjoying a sense of close community and support.
There are things I miss of course, like my pool, but there are local facilities here too, and so far, the benefits have far outweighed the challenges. I don’t regret my decision for a minute.
My daughter Christine and I visited this area to look at a few retirement communities. We knew that Elderslie would be a convenient location for my family to come and visit.
We’d visited a few villages, but when we arrived at Angus Bristow, something just felt right. The community was relaxed and welcoming, and the BaptistCare management team was friendly and helpful.
I also liked the environment and the fact that it’s not too hilly so I can walk around easily. There are beautiful grounds here and a lovely pond to look at, as well as pleasant walking paths and community garden beds.
As soon as we learned that a villa had become available, we decided to jump on the opportunity.
Moving to Angus Bristow Village was the best decision I ever made. I’ve only been here a year, but I’ve felt so welcomed, which has helped me to settle in quickly.
The resident population is a dynamic mix – some people have lived here for decades, while others have only been here a short time, like me. There are single people as well as couples, and a mix of ages. One thing everyone has in common though – they look out for one another. It’s a real community.
I found this out for myself when I had to go to hospital recently for a spinal operation. I was there for three months. While I was in hospital a resident offered to care for my gardens which made a big difference for me when I returned home. It’s lovely to live in a caring community like that.
The BaptistCare at home team are based in the office here at Angus Bristow and they’ve helped me install handrails and other modifications in my home to help make life easier since my operation. They’ve also assisted me in signing up for a Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) which means that I can access a range of home support services like domestic support or personal care.
Financially, it’s been a good move for me too. You don’t pay any rates, just the recurrent village fees. You’ve got to do your homework, mind you, and check that you understand the costs involved. Each person is different, but for me, it’s worked out very well.
The social side is well worth it. Retirement living offers a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make friends. We have many activities happening throughout the week in the community hall that are open to everybody. There are Scrabble sessions, pool games, regular morning and afternoon teas, and brain game activities, to name but a few.
I think that’s one of the advantages of living in a retirement community – there are opportunities to do all these things and not have to go anywhere!
I know I’m not alone in feeling much safer living here. It’s just knowing somebody will be there if there is an issue that gives you absolute peace of mind, and there is such a caring environment here at Angus Bristow.
The maintenance aspect is also taken care of, which has been fantastic. I can call on support from the management team for all the everyday little things that might go wrong in the house. The gardeners take care of my front and back lawns which is a great help.
Downsizing from my big family home was a big undertaking - I had accumulated a lot of items over the years!
I’ve always been a sewer and I could have started a shop with all my fabrics and craft materials! I donated some of my items to Lifeline and Salvo’s, and my family also supported me with the downsizing process.
My new, three-bedroom house is the perfect size for me though. I have a master bedroom, a second bedroom for visitors, and a third bedroom which I use as a hobby room.
I’ve had to take time to adjust to my new surroundings and get to know the area, but it’s been made so much easier by all the support I’ve had from BaptistCare and the other residents. The village is very close to shopping areas such as Camden and Narellan, all less than a ten-minute drive.