Value found in village life (as published in The Sunday Times, 10th October)

When they moved to Albany a decade ago, Jim and Maureen Riches contemplated living in a retirement village, but preconceptions stalled their decision. They moved from Broome to enjoy their retirement in the Great Southern, but decided against village life, instead settling on a 700sqm property.

“We considered a retirement village, but at that stage Maureen didn’t like the idea of living in close proximity to neighbours, so we didn’t go through with it,” Mr Riches said. Eventually, the couple’s perceptions changed, and after discussing their future with others, the Riches are now set to move to Boronia Gardens Village, a boutique estate catering to downsizers and over 55’s. Mr Riches said research provided greater clarity and understanding.

“We talked to friends for more of a feel and what we liked was that we can have an input into the design of the home, so it can suit our needs,” He said. “There are many different options and people to help you with the process, so it is important to talk to those with the knowledge.”

Mr Riches said the couple started thinking about moving 12 months ago. “We are both 76 and we love our house, but maintenance is not getting easier as we get older,” he said. “I have a sister who is not in the best shape, so you start thinking more about health and being isolated. We have met everyone at the village and made friends already, so we are really looking forward to eventually living there. Owning a caravan and travelling for long stretches played a part in their decision, Mr Riches said.

“Once a year we travel around in the caravan and recently we were in Queensland for four months,” he said. “We want to continue travelling, but when you’re away there is always apprehension over your property.  So hopefully, being in the village should ease some of those worries. It is gated and secure, which is good. It was also important to find a place which could store a caravan, as I have some friends who have to pay storage. Our place at the village will have a double garage to ensure there is enough room for the caravan.”

Mr Riches said finding accommodation in a convenient location was an important factor. “Boronia Gardens is close to Albany town centre and it is within walking distance of the Albany Aquatic and Leisure Centre,” he said. “It is good to be close to amenities, particularly in regional areas, as things can be quite far away. To live somewhere within walking distance of the city, shops and sports oval is ideal.”

“We plan to live there for the rest of our lives.”

 

Source: The Sunday Times, 10th October 2016