You’ve got a friend
Moving to a new community is the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people, and there's always time for coffee with a new friend. Here are some personal stories of how retirees found a whole new network by simply doing the things they love.
From Friday night happy hour to a mischievous moggy called Wendy, there are plenty of ways Rhonda and Terence have made new friends since their big move.
Picture caption: Rhonda and Terence O'Connor have lived at The Baytree by Ardency, Greenwich NSW for 18 months.
My early life was always quite busy with my sport. I used to be an elite athlete – Betty Cuthbert was a great friend and I held the world record for 400m – plus I had five brothers, and I was most upset to learn I wasn't allowed to play cricket with them.
We moved here about 18 months ago and it’s a very social place. Friday nights from 5.30pm is happy hour and everybody goes; it’s a great way to meet people and catch up. After drinks, a lot of us stay on at the restaurant for dinner. The food is great and so is the service. I still cook some evenings, but we go to the restaurant at least a couple of nights a week.
There are some really interesting people here. Lois, the gardener, has a young team of helpers and they do a brilliant job. I still enjoy gardening on my balcony, but Lois actually gave me a little area next to the BBQ so I could grow some herbs and they’re doing really well. People in the Resort help themselves but they’re always very respectful and don’t take too much.
My cat Wendy is a real character and everybody knows her. One day I had the whole place in lock-down because we couldn’t find her. Everyone was out in the streets. After being out looking for her everywhere, I was in tears, then my husband, Terence, said, ‘Come and have a look in here.’ She was curled up in a cupboard that I’d closed earlier in the day!
Wendy has a lovely time out visiting around the neighbourhood. I’ve said to everyone, I’m happy for you to have her, just ring and let me know she’s with you so I don’t worry. It’s a very special place. The people here have made us feel so welcome. It’s just lovely. And it’s not only the people who live here that are fabulous — the people who look after us are amazing, too.
Terence had some health issues and was in St Vincent’s Hospital, where he’d previously been a surgeon. While he was there, I sold our house in Longueville (just 10 minutes away) and bought the apartment here in The Bay Tree by Ardency. I brought him home and we felt comfortable immediately. Terence would have had no quality of life at home, so it was a great choice for us.
He's really found his feet here. He likes the conversations he has with other residents – everybody is so interesting – and he can take his walker and go up and meet friends. Everyone looks out for each other.
We are so busy, all the time. There are some terrific outings that you can go on from the Resort. They have buses that take you to all sorts of places, it’s really wonderful. There’s even a theatre here, with great movies.
Even though I used to do a lot of swimming, and there's a pool here, we don’t swim any more. Instead, I’ve talked Terence into running – in the pool! I’m doing it with him. It strengthens your legs and arms because you’re pulling yourself through. He really loves it.
It’s such a great group of people here. We look after those who are in need or those who are sick. If word gets out that somebody’s in trouble or needs something, we all pull together.