Having seven kids, she has always lived in a big family home and was the one cooking and cleaning for everyone. But now that she is older, she has decided that there's better ways to spend her retirement! Living in a Serviced Apartment in the serene setting of Fiddlers Green in Berwick, VIC, the tables have turned, and now she gets to enjoy the comfort of prepared meals and cleaning services, with more time on focusing on the things she loves.
We sat down with Lynne to hear more about her unique story, her love for the Fiddlers Green retirement community, and why moving into a Serviced Apartment was not just a comfortable, but also a financially smart choice.
Lynne has lived a life surrounded by people. From working in the office of a school with about 500 children, to having 7 kids of her own and taking in international students after her children moved out, it is fair to say that she is more than used to having a bit of chaos around her.
So looking back, it is not surprising that her first venture into retirement living was a bit of culture shock. In 2007, she moved into a villa in Evelyn Ridge, one of our retirement communities with gorgeous views of the Yarra Ranges.
“It was exciting because it was all new. (...) It was like being pioneers. It was quite an adventure,” Lynne remembers of her years there.
But after seven beautiful years at the village, Lynne decided she wasn’t fully done with family life. "I started to envy the stereotypical Italian grandma who sits in her son or daughter's house with the shawl over her head and nurses the babies. She shells the peas, and life just goes on around her. I wanted that.”
So she asked her kids who would take her back in. "3 of my kids had spare bedrooms, so I finished up having rooms in 3 houses and I would just go a couple of days here and then I'd move on a couple of days there. I sort of fitted in with who needed kids picked up from school or other help around the house."
Moving from one kid to another, Lynne was content with not having her own home and helping out where she could. Her first glimpse at Serviced Apartments came through her friend, Jan, another resident of Fiddlers Green. After a village concert, there was an open invitation to view the Serviced Apartments that are conveniently connected to the function room in the community centre, where the concert was held.
"We knew what a villa looks like because I've visited Jan often enough and I'd had a villa of my own at Evelyn Ridge. But I often wondered: "What's up that ramp?"
Intrigued by the chance to catch a glimpse of the apartments, Lynne and her friend came on the tour - albeit more driven by a bit of cheeky curiosity than actual purchasing intent. "I asked all the right questions of the sales lady and sounded interested, but I really wasn’t," she remembers with a giggle.
But little did she know, her casual curiosity would pave the way for her new home.
Although Lynne enjoyed helping out with her grandkids and being around her own children, she did eventually start to feel it was time for a new chapter. While she pondered what could be in store for her, she remembered the visit to Fiddlers Green, and the rest is history.
Upon moving into the Serviced Apartment, Lynne found her new life packed not with luggage but with liberation: "The lovely thing about moving into the Serviced Apartment is you no longer need an ironing board, an iron, a washing machine, or 15 salad platters. You don't need saucepans. You don't need cake tins. You don't need 500 sheets. You don't need 50 towels. I found the downsizing from a big house with lots of kids to an apartment very liberating."
"I found the downsizing from a big house with lots of kids to an apartment very liberating."
But that's not all. The Serviced Apartments are purposely designed to make life easier for residents, including drawers for storage in the kitchen, space-saving closet interior, and spacious showers.
"The showers are good here because they're generous. If you have to have a chair to sit on or if you have to have someone come in to help you shower, there's room for them to be able to manipulate you," Lynne says.
One of the many perks of Serviced Apartment living that Lynne appreciates is that all the services provided: From cleaning to cooking, everything is done for her. On top of that, her meals are prepared, eliminating the need for grocery shopping!
They are also nutritious, with lighter dinners guaranteed for better digestion and all dietary requirements catered for. The cook, Raj, even welcomes any feedback or wishes from residents about what to see on the seasonal menu.
Lynne's move turned out to be not just a lifestyle choice but also a wise financial decision. With many of her children living in the area, she wanted to stay close and live in Berwick. But upon crunching the numbers, she realised this was going to be an expensive endeavour - alas she moved into the retirement village.
"I know that a lot of people think they can't afford retirement communities, but if you are smart and you make yourself aware of all that is available, you definitely can. Centrelink have got a financial person that I talked to, I did mine by phone. We did a hookup with my son in law who's an accountant. We just talked about what would be the best way to accommodate my finances, and for me personally, the pay as you go contract option was the most beneficial."
Pay As You Go gives you the freedom to experience retirement living without having to sell your home or other assets beforehand. With this option, you’ll pay a security deposit, a non-refundable establishment fee and monthly instalments. When leaving the village, your security deposit will be returned with no extra fees or costs. You won’t need to worry about capital gains, loss of your property, or have any selling pressures. Find out more about our contracts here.
Together with this option, as well as rent assistance and a home care package, Lynne now actually comes out on top at the end of the month. " I'm in front. It is brilliant," she smiles. "It's legal, it's available and I've declared everything to Centrelink. It makes it affordable and it takes the stress off.
The reason why Lynne is in front is not because she is lucky, but because she was organised. "Think about it before you need it," she urges people.
"People need to be aware of what's available, and of course they're going to say, 'Oh well, I'm not ready for that.' But the 'yet' can come mighty fast if your arthritis takes over, or if you have a stroke or whatever happens.
We need to be encouraging people to think ahead of their time and just to have a little contingency plan in place."
"Think about it before you need it."
Learn more about Serviced Apartments.
For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550.
If you think your family or friends might enjoy this article, please share it with them.