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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Aug-Sept
COVER STORY Active RetireesTM | 33 “There will always be a place for retirement living, but boomers are going to be more reluctant to embrace traditional retirement homes,” Salt says. “Some will be more inclined to outsource services such as cleaning and repairs to help them stay in their own homes. Modern houses will also be built to better accommodate older residents, to enable boomers to stay in their own homes for longer. “It won’t be until people are in their late 70s that they move into retirement living. And many people will prefer to live in a gated community with a clubby, collegiate atmosphere that’s not branded a retirement home,” he adds. Indeed, experts report the average age of people entering retirement facilities is increasing. “About ten years ago we saw the average age of our residents rise, and the average entry age is also increasing,” says Laboo. “Ten years ago the average age of someone entering one of our properties was early 70s. Now, the average entry age is around 80,” he adds. As the average age of someone entering a retirement village increases, the facilities offered will also shift. “It depends on the individual, but as the average entry age climbs, it means their participation in activities can vary,” says Laboo. “Some are extremely socially and physically active – I was at one of our properties a while back and one of our 93-year -old female residents was playing tennis. “But we also want to provide opportunities to support people whatever their level of activity. It’s about helping people to be as independent as possible and giving them the choice to be as active as they want to be,” he explains. The future of retirement living “In 10 years' time our flagship resorts will cater to an even wider range of needs and provide more choices,” predicts Laboo. “It’s likely we will be able to match a resort to someone’s needs and provide customised services and support to meet a resident’s unique circumstances. For instance, they may need assisted care for three months or six months and then go back to independent living. “I believe our facilities add real value to society. Many older people who are still living at home are socially isolated and community living means they are no longer alone. “If someone’s kids live abroad or they’re not engaging with life there’s lots of evidence to suggest that living in a community can help them start interacting again. It’s a misconception to think what we offer is a nursing home; we’re offering resort-style accommodation and a fantastic lifestyle.” •• Each village has its own culture; some are really active and everyone gets involved, others are more creative and prefer arts and crafts. Justin Laboo, FKP W Tennis courts, bowling greens and gyms help residents remain independent and active. Where I live Nella Zubani has lived at Sydney’s Watermark Castle Cove retirement complex since it opened in 2009, having bought off the plan when the property was being developed. She values the companionship community living offers. “T here’s someone you can turn to at all times. It makes it very much like a family; it’s a very friendly group,” she says. “We have a themed dinner once a month; sometimes it’s a roast, sometimes it’s Chinese or Italian. And on Friday nights we have happy hour and everyone brings something to nibble and something to drink. There’s also talk of a couple of the guys setting up a bar. “We’re a pretty healthy lot; most of us still drive and we’re involved in outside activities like bridge clubs and golf. We also have a 24-hour coffee machine and lounge, where there’s a fire and newspapers and there’s always someone to talk to,” Zubani says. “We also have a putting green, but often that gets more use by visitors’ kids than residents.”
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