Reminiscing over the many shared laughs and moments spent together in their retirement village, the three ladies are the perfect example that country singer Willie Nelson indeed was wrong when he sang 'You can't make old friends'.
Nancy, Gwen and Pat all have different stories about what ultimately convinced them to choose Forest Hills as their new home.
Nancy actually had a friend already living in the village when she moved to her new home in 1995. Pat on the other hand had been on the waitlist for a different village, when her and her daughter decided to have a look around. When they saw Forest Hills and met some of the staff members at the village, their heads were turned quite quickly.
"They were fantastic. We had a look at a couple of units and I thought, 'I can fit everything in'." Pat also likes gardening and being outside, so the beautiful surrounds and communal spaces were another deciding factor for her to move in.
It didn't take long after moving in for the ladies to meet. Pat and Gwen ran into each other at one of the social events at Forest Hills. Pat had just recently lost her husband, so she went by herself. "I got invited to join and have a cuppa at the happy hour they had on a Friday night. And I met this couple. We've been top thing since then."
The couple Pat met were Gwen and her late husband. After having found each other, the group was complete when they met Nancy at the social committee. The three got on really well, and the rest is history.
One thing the three ladies have in common is their love for social outings and group activities. So they were excited when the village team announced the community centre would undergo some renovations to improve the communal space on offer.
Ever since the grand opening, the community centre has become a new magnet for all residents, including Pat, Nancy and Gwen. They are especially looking forward to welcoming more customers at the village kiosk that Pat and Gwen started with a few other residents, and that is now perfectly positioned next to the library and the new alfresco dining, surrounded by newly landscaped gardens.
"The new spaces have massively impacted the socialising", Pat says. "On a Saturday night, it is very popular. And also during the day, you see more people walking in here, having a cuppa or just having a talk. And in summer, it's going to be even better!"
It is almost impossible to speak to the throuple without having them trail off in one hilarious anecdote after the other. What about that time a neighbour accidentally drove into a fence? Or that time when Hamish and Andy from the popular radio show came and spent a day with them, even getting their hair done in the village beauty salon.
Their eyes light up even brighter when reminiscing about the many costume parties they would organise as part of the social committee. Residents and staff dressed up as sister Mary Magdalene or wrapped in outlandish flowery shirts to match the Hawaiian party theme. Even though these ladies met later in life, it is obvious they have made some of their most treasured memories together - and have many more to look forward to in the future.
The story of Nancy, Gwen, and Pat is a great reminder that friendships have the power to blossom at any stage of life. Our retirement villages like Forest Hills are welcoming communities where old and new friends come together, creating joyful memories that last a lifetime.
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