At 72, Verona Gibbs was convinced that she was too young, too active and too independent to fit into a retirement community.
“I guess like a lot of people I had a picture of a retirement village being like an aged care home – just full of old people”, she says.
It took her husband Leonard a couple of years before he could convince her to even come and look at a Retirement Village.
That was the day they discovered their perfect home at Bundaleer Gardens.
Ironically it wasn’t a three bedroom house that Verona had expected that she would be looking for, instead, it was a lovely open plan living, sun-drenched, one bedroom villa with a peaceful outlook that she felt an instant connection with.
Living at Bundaleer has certainly challenged some of Verona’s previous misconceptions about retirement living.
She has found the community has a lively social scene, enjoys being part of a vocal collection of residents who have a say in important decisions about the village itself and most importantly of all she feels incredibly safe.
“I’ve always been a real wuss when it comes to safety.
"If Leonard ever went away I would always have to go and stay with someone.
"But at Bundaleer I know I’m safe. I am always very happy to be here by myself and recently Leonard had a two-week stay in the hospital and I was perfectly happy to stay at home by myself.
“Leonard and I love that we have such a good community.
"We all look after each other because we genuinely care.
"It doesn’t matter if there is an age difference, we are all in the same stage of life. We all get along and love our neighbourly chats.
"You can interact as much or as little as you like with other residents, but we’re pretty active in how the place is run and how decisions are made”, she says, “which keep us busy.
"And for us, the convenience of having the Care Home on the same property is amazing and makes it so easy for us to visit Mum, who has been a resident there for some years.
“We have been here for four and a half years now and I can honestly say that I have no regrets.
"Despite the fact that I originally had to be coaxed into moving by Leonard, I really wish I had come in earlier – and that is something I never thought I would hear myself say!” Verona says laughing.
Bruce Corven first discovered Bundaleer when he was looking for care for his father-in-law many years ago.
While ultimately his father-in-law settled in a different location, Bundaleer made a lasting impression on Bruce and he knew exactly where he wanted to go when the time was right.
After a while, he finally convinced his wife Margaret to just come and have a look.
The only villa that was open for inspection at that time was a two bedroom home overlooking nearby farmland and they loved it and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Obviously we were heading into uncharted territory, but the Village Manager put us at ease by taking us through the contract line by line and making sure that we understood what we were agreeing to and what our rights were.
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"She also pointed out all the social opportunities and where to get help if we needed it, so we were really made to feel at home from the very beginning. We just knew that we had made the right decision,” said Bruce.
“There’s this misconception that it’s just a bunch of old people sitting around and not doing much. It’s actually the opposite.
"You’ve just got to check out the calendar on any given month and see all the craft groups, garden clubs, card groups, snooker, bus trips, happy hours and monthly BBQ’s – not to mention bingo and the live entertainment at the Cameron Street Care Home.
"We can even book the BBQ area for personal family functions – so when I think about it, I wish we moved in at 65 to enjoy all that Bundaleer has to offer”, Bruce continues.
“And we have a monthly resident meeting to allow us to have our say in what happens around the village.
"The team at Bundaleer are always looking for opportunities to make improvements in the Village.
"For instance, we are about to have automatic doors installed into our Community Room, which will make access much easier for many of the residents and our visitors.
“We love the café in our Community Room and we also order our meals from the Bundaleer kitchen - they are always delicious.
"From a peace of mind point of view, the emergency call system that we have in our units is another huge benefit – should any of us ever need emergency assistance, help is just the press of a button away.”
To take a tour of Bundaleer Village and inspect our available units you can call the Village Manager on 6585 2811 or just call in for a cuppa. We’d love to meet you.