Who says getting old can be a drag. Yes, there are the aches and pains. Getting around is harder and walkers, scooters and canes are ready to go on any outdoor adventure. A ride in an ambulance is just a slip away and occasionally there will be the inevitable funeral to get dressed up for plus more visits to the doctor.
Cortisone injections and tablets get thrown around like candy and trying to work the DVD can seem like Nuclear Physics but after spending time at the Retirement Village that my folks live at I feel like I’ve been transported back to one of those Rodney Dangerfield back to College Movies from the 80’s, where frat parties are aplenty and good times are as close as your next door neighbor.
Unlike College though, there may not be beer kegs or kidnapped farm animals but in the handful of visits that I’ve had at the Village I’ve seen more vibrant, alive, social and go get em people than I’ve seen in years. Age has definitely not wearied them. In a sea of villas all set in leafy surroundings next to a lake, there is never a dull moment, well, except for the occasional afternoon nap.
The youngest resident is 55, the oldest a spry 94, but if you think you’ve come here to ‘retire’ than think again. Yes, if you are a bit of a hermit and want peace and quiet in your ‘golden’ years then shutter up the villa and watch daytime soaps, that’s no problem but the people I’ve met wouldn’t know a daytime soap if it wacked them in the tush.
The ‘clubhouse’ at the Village is a hive of activity. If you’re sporty, there’s Yoga, Snooker, Table Tennis and right next to the ‘clubhouse’ is a Bowling Green and rumor has it a big python lives in the woods not far from the ‘clubhouse’ causing the local cats to be a bit more ‘skittish’ than usual.
If you’re a bit more artistic then there is an Arts and Crafts class and a monthly movie night on the big screen. Of course, there is the obligatory Bingo night, where you can enjoy fish and chips whilst waiting for your ’66 clickety click’ to get called. The Village Bus does day trips to the local shopping center where you can spend all your children’s inheritance and there’s even a Restaurant group that samples all the local cuisines.
If you live alone and want a chat, no problem, just go wait outside your villa for ten minutes and somebody is bound to come by either on a scooter or walkers going for a leisurely cruise. I went outside yesterday to get something from the car and was still out there an hour later, I ended up talking to five different people and if you’re outside around 3.30pm lookout, its the pilgrimage to the mailboxes and that’s when things go into social overdrive.
Friday night ‘Happy Hour’ at the Clubhouse has become legendary. The cask wine and good old Aussie beer is more popular than a tube of dencorub and its where the ladies display the gold jewelry whilst the men drench themselves in old spice. The next Boat Cruise is planned, old jokes are rehashed and wouldn’t you know it, not one person has their head buried in a mobile phone. People actually talk and don’t think once ‘Happy Hour’ is over its off to bed, oh no, various Villas around the village start up the ‘frat parties’ till about 10.30pm.
After that you wouldn’t hear a church mouse. Sometimes about midnight you might hear the faint noise of a Freight train off in the distance. You’d better be an early riser though, as the residents are up and about ready start their day, possibly even to go get a haircut at the beauty salon down at the Clubhouse.
I’m sure you’ve heard growing older is all about ‘attitude’ and after spending time visiting with my folks in their Retirement Village I’ve seen what kind of life can be lived with a great outlook. When you surround yourself with like-minded people it’s a life worth living. Heck, I’ve even thought about moving in.