Village News

Metlifecare: Where every day is a retirement holiday

17 October 2022

Vern Walker in his garden

Vern Walker pictured in the front garden of his villa.

A resident's view, by Vern Walker.

The concept of a retirement village is certainly changing. The fuzzy thinking of past years is being replaced by many seniors making a change in their lifestyle. Increasingly, they clearly see that every phase in life, demands forward planning, in order to optimise the ever-changing demands of their lives. Also, the perception that a resident in a village environment, is not only one of cosy companionship, but a necessary and rewarding move.

The retirement village style of living is catching on and is growing like topsy. The notion that a village is a “rest home” is being quickly supplanted by the numbers game. Today there are 6500 Metlifecare residents living in villages, across 33 locations, from Oakridge Villas in Kerikeri, to Pohutukawa Landing, overlooking Pine Harbour, near Auckland, to historic Karori Village in Wellington.

The old catch cry of the past has often been: “I am not ready for such a move. I want to continue to live in my own home.” “I’m 82, in good health and I am staying put.” This is very clouded and short-sighted thinking. I have friends with similar thinking. They live in an old added-to home in Onehunga, Auckland, that badly needs maintenance. Their health is on the decline. In due course they will be forced to make a move. In such circumstances many retirees are making the move into the retirement village style of living, now, rather than later. Village life where you can be alone, but not feel alone. A time to discard and downsize into modern living, which is maintenance free, and with locked in security.

For nearly 20 years I have enjoyed living in Pinesong, surrounded by friends with similar aspirations, interests, and challenges. Every week I gather with others to watch the rugby on our mammoth big screen. And every other week I trade culinary skills with a neighbour, as we compare recipes and enjoy meals together. I am a watercolour artist. I enjoy inviting fellow artists into my villa during which time we swap ideas and techniques.

At 85 years, I am still a very keen gardener. Most often I can be seen in my labour of love in the front of my villa, weeding, digging, and planting. Why? Because passing “foot traffic” often stop for a chat. And that stimulating interaction is worth pausing for!

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