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Retirement Living: Take steps early to stay independent longer

01 May 2016

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Lady Allum resident Margaret Railton says moving to the Village was the best decision she and her husband ever made

For many seniors, losing their independence is their greatest fear. Living in one’s own home for as long as possible has become synonymous with maintaining independence, but as an increasing number of seniors have discovered, moving out of the family home and taking charge of the next stage of their lives has enabled them to live independently for longer.


Getting older shouldn’t be a barrier to maintaining control over your life, but life is unpredictable and the longer we wait to make choices for our future, the greater the chance those decisions will be made by someone else on our behalf.


Ina Curtis is fiercely independent and continued to live in her own home for 20 years after her husband passed away before making the decision to move to Lady Allum Village. “It was a very big decision”, admits Ina, “because I had been independent for so long. But my goodness, looking back now, I wonder why I was so worried.” That sense of relief is shared by Margaret Railton and her husband Tony, who are also Lady Allum residents. “That was the best decision we have ever made.”


What these residents also shared was the desire to be in the driver’s seat when it came to deciding on their future. “Much as I love my family, I am different to them and what would appeal to them would not necessarily appeal to me”, explains Ina. “It was vital that I was mentally fit enough to make that decision for myself.”

Choosing the sort of lifestyle you want to live is also important. Retirement villages often present themselves as resort-like, some are mini-townships, bustling with group activities. Ina wanted a place that wasn’t too big and where she could do her own thing. “If I want company I go down and get it. If I feel unsociable, as I often am, I go in and close the door and I’m at home on my own. What more could you ask.”


Having established care on-site is another plus, but look closely at what levels of care are available. When Margaret and Tony made their decision to move, they were both still able to live in their apartment. Since then her husband’s health has deteriorated, but he’s just a short stroll away. “Tony has shifted to one of the care units here”, says Margaret. “He has been so well cared for by the nursing staff.”


While her longer term health isn’t something Ina dwells on, it’s good to know that care is there when she needs it. “What scared me before I moved, was that I was going to give up my independence”, says Ina, “but it’s not like that at all. It’s better than I ever hoped it would be.”


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Oceania provides Rest Home, Hospital, Dementia, Respite and Palliative/End of Life Care, as well as Independent Retirement Village living, at over 40 New Zealand locations.

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