Why you should consider retiring in a community you already know
Originally published as Thinking twice about a sea or tree change? Why you should consider retiring in a community you already know' on Downsizing.com.au on January 31, 2023 and reproduced here with permission. Interview by Marina Roussel.
For some people, retirement is an opportunity to escape their everyday surroundings and chase a long-held dream of living by the coast or in the country.
Understandably, relocating may seem like the ultimate way of easing out of the hustle and bustle of city life and into a fulfilling retirement.
However, as you get older and your needs change, getting away from it all and finding the ideal place to retire don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Here are three reasons to consider downsizing where you already live:
1. Continuity and connection
As you transition into retirement, friends and family can provide a vital support network.
Retiring in a community that you’re already a part of helps you preserve those valuable social connections rather than starting from scratch in a new location.
It’s no surprise then that many retirees choose to downsize to familiar locations near their original homes rather than making a major geographical move or taking a chance on a new off-the-plan development. This lets them remain a part of their existing community and friendship groups.
Christina Robinson says that moving into a retirement village in the Queensland suburb of Redcliffe, where she has lived for more than 60 years, was one of the best lifestyle decisions she’s ever made.
Growing up, going to school and spending the majority of her working life in Redcliffe meant that Christina’s ties to the area were strong, and it made obvious sense for her to continue living there.
“I lived in a larger brick home for many years and decided to downsize because the cost of maintaining it with repairs, lawn mowing and painting was too much. I wanted to go somewhere where all these things would be taken care of,” she says.
“My mother lived in the area for many years and I have a brother who still lives and works here. Like me, he doesn’t want to move away,” she says.
After a short search, Christina found the perfect unit to settle down in at Blue Care New Haven retirement village in Redcliffe, and she’s now been living there happily for over two years.
2. Access to local amenities
Redcliffe, or “the peninsula” as it’s known to locals like Christina, is one of greater Brisbane’s earliest settled areas. It has a rich history and also a claim to fame as the childhood neighbourhood of music legends The Bee Gees.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s a lively community with retail, hospitality and social services on tap.
Having these sorts of amenities at your doorstep is crucially important not only for everyday convenience but also if mobility and declining health become an issue. And if you have a long-standing relationship with a healthcare provider in your community, staying local means it can be easier to continue getting the standard of care you’re accustomed to.
“Everything is catered for in New Haven,” Christina points out. “Daily shopping is easy with a newsagent, butcher and IGA supermarket all close by. Also, the library, community centre, theatre and coffee shops are just around the corner.”
Like many of Blue Care's other villages in southeast Queensland, New Haven has easy access to Brisbane’s CBD and is a quick drive to Brisbane Airport.
Finding a new “family”
Retiring to a village within reach of existing social networks gives retirees the best of both worlds: the ability to hold onto established ties and the opportunity to make new “family” and friends within the village.
Knowing whether you’ll fit in and find common ground with others is much easier to judge with long-running villages like Blue Care New Haven, where the staff and residents are well established.
Christina says that the community spirit at New Haven grew during the recent challenges of the pandemic and local flooding. Residents, whose ages range from the early 60s to 90s, were drawn much closer together.
“We found ways to look out for each other and stay in touch when interaction was restricted,” Christina explained. “Doing the rounds, checking on people and shopping for them if they needed it. The sense of community was just amazing.”
Happily, with the threat of Covid having eased, social get-togethers and activities like exercise, craft and bible studies groups have taken off again.
Pets are also considered part of the family at New Haven. Gardening and outdoor activities often take place under the watchful eye of “Spooks”, Christina’s black toy poodle. “She was New Haven’s first dog and is loved by everyone here,” Christina adds.
3. Well-maintained and affordable retirement living
Buying into a new development is one way to get an attractive house with all the mod cons. But look a bit closer and you’ll find a surprising number of established villages with beautifully renovated or refurbished homes that provide great value for money.
Plus, you have the comfort of knowing exactly what you’re buying into – there are no unpleasant “surprises” if unfinished and off-the-plan developments fail to live up to the marketing hype.
Quality, certainty and value for money were major deciding factors in Christina’s move to Blue Care New Haven; being able to take stock of the actual home was a big plus. “When I was told the price I was in disbelief!” she says. “The apartment was way more affordable than others I’d seen and, unlike some of them, it didn’t even need renovation.
“Even if it had been on par, price-wise, it still would have better value because the level of improvements made it look much cleaner and more modern. The price was just icing on the cake.
“New Haven is just perfect and I couldn't ask for anything better. It ticks all the boxes. Location, price and the unit itself were all 100 per cent. I just couldn't believe my good fortune and felt so at home when I moved in.”
Make your next move to a Blue Care retirement village
As Natalie Smith, Blue Care’s General Manager – Retirement Living puts it, “Our retirement villages are ideal for those seeking a friendly community with the freedom to do what’s important to them.
“With over 30 villages in well-connected locations across Queensland, you can choose from a range of low-maintenance homes to suit your lifestyle and budget.
“Should you need it, additional support to make your life easier in the form of home care services, personal care and nursing can also be requested.”
Blue Care’s high standards, ongoing attention to detail and quality refurbishments mean that you’ll get an attractive house, unit or apartment at an affordable price.