Retirement villages have long been acknowledged as environments that promote and foster happy, healthy communities of older Australians, and according to John Grassa, Victorian Regional Manager of Retirement Living operator Lendlease Retirement Living, this has never been truer.
“Retirement villages understand what it means to ‘age well’,” Mr Grassa says. “They’re much more than just a place to live.”
“Our villages are designed to promote healthy living, from facilities such as bowling greens and indoor swimming pools, to weekly nurse clinic* visits offering residents free health checks,” he adds.
While the sporting facilities themselves encourage frequent exercise – whether it’s organised bowling competitions, or individual training such as swimming laps, or lifting weights – it’s the social interaction that comes with these facilities that also serves as a huge benefit.
With social isolation affecting one in five older Australians, it’s these daily opportunities for socialising that sees 46 percent of new residents report improved mental wellbeing and happiness, upon moving into a retirement village, according to the Property Council of Australia’s ‘National overview of the retirement sector’ report in 2015.
Mr Grassa also notes that providing residents with plenty of opportunity to keep their minds active is just as important as the physical sporting facilitates.
“Not everyone wants to partake in sports,” he says. “Many residents would rather enrol in a course from The University of the Third Age, participate in a technology workshop, attend a painting or sculpture class, or even come to a yoga or meditation class.”
And for older Australians who may need extra help – whether it’s with cooking, cleaning or more hands on care – Lendlease Retirement Living offers Serviced Apartments,specifically designed to help people who are less independent. For many, it can mean avoiding or delaying a move to aged care, helping them remain active within their retirement community for longer.
“A lot of the time, we see older people who have been living at home alone and they have become quite isolated, not finding it easy to travel to see friends or family”, Mr Grassa continues.
“Often after people move in with us, I’m approached by one of their children who tell me that their parent is looking fantastic, they’ve never been happier and have made so many friends.”
*Based on Nurse Clinic trial period until 30 June 2017 at Fiddlers Green, Goodwin Close, Highvale and Port Phillip Village. Trial period not applicable to Classic Residences Brighton.