My week in a Retirement Village
I spent a week in a retirement village, well I didn’t sleep there but my dad lives in one, and I visited him every day. A very impressive retirement village, called Pinesong in Green Bay/Titirangi in Auckland New Zealand. My dad who I went home to spend time with is an introvert and is not as social as I would like him to be. He doesn’t use the village’s resources either and I figure that’s included in the overall costs, he’s missing out. He’s had trouble with his sight and in reality can’t be faffed. These are of course my observations and not his I’m sure.
As he’s aged he’s more than happy to sit on his little butt and listen to the radio or watch TV or read what he can. As you should when you are 84 years old and don’t have a bossy daughter on your doorstep every 5 minutes nagging you. Picking he was relieved when I left Auckland for Perth. Maybe I’m okay in small doses.
We met every morning over the six days I was home bar one day. That day, I had to myself to stroll through the city to breathe, reflect and think. I walked to his village from my brother’s and his wife’s family home, they live within spitting distance of the village. I had morning tea in the village restaurant, home made quiches, scones and cakes at a fraction of the cost. We watched the goings on as dad filled me in on the local gossip. We spent time in the library, viewed the DVD’s, large print books, historical and fiction books. An honesty box and a sign in book in operation.
Dad promises me he won’t nick anything from here.
We watched a game of lawn bowls. Retirees, strutted their stuff up and down the court, egging the ball and each other on, arms raised giving the ball directions. Cracking jokes, laughing and a fair bit of muttering, better luck next time. They encourage dad to join, though I know he won’t. The jack is rolled, it reaches a fair distance up the course, and one fella thought that was too far so he shifted it with his foot. The others looked on amused, hands on hip, asking if he was happier with that then. They all agreed, otherwise they could have been rolling balls down the back ditch and that would never do.
I got a hold of the activities list and highlighted sessions I wanted dad to go to such as, befit, line dancing, Rumicub, meet and greet in the bar, indoor bowls and a movie afternoon. I then copied this my timetable out for him on a separate piece of paper under the days of the week. I even made a copy for my brother and his family, you know just in case.
We went to the movies and he snored
Guessing you can see why he by now would be keen to see the back of me. I took him to the movies one day and said it would be just like old times dad, you’d be able to nod of and pretend that you watched the movie. He proceeded to tell me he didn’t fall asleep in the movies anymore. YES he fell asleep twice and denied it. I then informed him that the couple behind us moved due to his snoring. He still wouldn’t have it.
One day I marched up to the reception desk with dad in tow to ask about other activities and voiced my concerns that dad wasn’t going to any. The staffs of course are brilliant, respectful and you wouldn’t expect anything else. They suggested with dad’s approval that they add him to a bus list for activities and when there is a spare seat on the bus he would be invited along. He accepted, time will tell. I did hint that a buddy system would be a good idea. Bet they were keen to see the back of me to.
Good one dad
There is also a swimming pool and a gym. Where dad fell asleep on the bench press and they thought he may have been dead.
We walked around the beautifully kept grounds and I noted there were a fair few lemon trees, branches heavy with the weight of lemons. I asked dad if he is allowed to help himself. Wouldn’t dare he said they get very precious over their lemons. Guessing he’s already had a go and been caught.
We listened one morning while a resident played the piano and thanked him afterward. He was surprised and grateful at the same time. I never saw one sad face the whole time I was there.
I want to move in, I bet there is a waiting list a mile long so I think I’ll put my name down should be a spot be available in 20 years or so.