When a health diagnosis meant they’d eventually have to move from their home with steps, Lisa Beattie and her husband Michael began exploring their options. After looking at places that didn’t feel right, they say serendipity led them to their new home at The Grove Ngunnawal.
We spoke with Lisa about making the big decision to move into a village and how she and Michael have settled into their new community. Including what it’s like when the grandchildren come to visit every week.
Moving to the village was one of the best decisions we've made. We’d lived in our house for 30 years, and it's only now that I can look back and realise how isolated we were living there. We switched sides in Canberra, from the south to the north, which is unheard of for Canberrans. Our family is on this side, and with hindsight, I can say the change was a wonderful thing.
Michael was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and we realised there would come a time when he couldn't cope with the steps at home. We actually made the decision to move quite quickly. We visited another place, but it wasn't quite right. So we changed direction and drove up to Monty Place.
'But from the moment we moved here, we felt this was indeed a true home.'
A resident waved as we drove past in the car, and that felt like a serendipitous moment. I don't know what it is that makes a place truly a home. But from the moment we moved here, we felt this was indeed a true home.
I expected to experience buyer's remorse and feel a bit down after leaving our familiar surroundings. But it simply never happened.
The village provides such a sense of community, but it's up to each individual to decide how involved or not they wish to be. It’s a place where you can really connect with others. And human connection is key to an enjoyable life. This is where the clubhouse comes into its own. It’s a wonderful place to go and catch up with people.
‘The village provides such a sense of community… It’s a place where you can really connect with others.’
I love that here in the village, there are so many things to do. It provides new ways of looking at life and gives us a new focus. We've also started doing Tai Chi, and I’ve really gotten into it. So much so that we are now doing it more often. My sister-in-law comes up to the village once a week to teach, and then a group of us do our practice in the clubhouse.
I also enjoy going out to the bush and hearing the silence and the birds. We're lucky around here as we have many beautiful calm spaces. You can get far enough away from traffic noise, so it's serene and peaceful. Someone commented that it's like a little Italian village in the mountains.
There really isn't a 'typical' day, as each day is different. But there’s definitely a wonderful rhythm to living here. Some days I get up super early and go for a walk. On other days it's a more leisurely start depending on what I've got on.
I usually go up to the clubhouse after breakfast and check if any notices have gone up about what's taking place and coming up. On Wednesday afternoons, I join in what I call 'crafternoon'. It involves a group of women meeting up for coffee, talking and knitting or crocheting. The guys then come in later to meet up, talk and have a drink.
Friday afternoon is happy hour, and most Saturdays, there’s a movie or some type of social activity going on. We have a gardening club on Saturday morning. It's only scheduled to go for 45 mins, but gardening is the sort of activity that once you get into it, you just want to keep going, so we often go over time.
My days are full, but it's often hard to put my finger on why I'm so busy. We help out our family and have the grandchildren once a week which is wonderful. Many residents have grandchildren after school, and another amazing couple has them three days a week! It's lovely seeing the children in the village and having these intergenerational relationships. Connecting with younger people is great for everyone involved. We're actually looking at running some play days in the village for grandkids.
Michael and I also plan adventures outside of the village. We go to galleries more often than we used to, and I took myself off to the movies on Monday morning, which was spur of the moment and brilliant.
‘Interestingly, I don't feel the need to 'escape' now that I'm living here. Everyone is really respectful.’
I was a teacher, so I forced myself to become an extrovert. But I do like my own company, and I love to be able to retreat into the garden or into my studio, which is our 2nd bedroom. Interestingly, I don't feel the need to 'escape' now that I'm living here. Everyone is really respectful. While we’re near to each other, we’re certainly not on top of each other like it often feels when living in towns and cities.
I enjoy making sure new residents feel welcome to join the activities and village goings on if they wish.
We all know what it's like to feel intimidated in a new environment and approaching new people. It's like going to a new school or workplace. Navigating new places happens at every stage of life! So I'm thrilled to be able to help new residents with the settling-in process and facilitate introductions.
‘You've made the move at the right time by moving in younger.’
Friends of ours have said, 'You've made the move at the right time by moving in younger.’ And it’s so true! It’s allowed us to get more involved with activities, connect with new people and develop wonderful friendships. Combined with the safety of living in a gated-style community, we couldn't recommend it more highly.
Learn more about The Grove Ngunnawal.
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.