From tai chi to arts and crafts – learn new skills in a supported environment
Think retirement villages are all about playing bingo and lawn bowls? Think again! Whether you are interested in brushing up on your computer knowledge, working out at the gym, honing your drama skills or much more, there has never been so many opportunities to keep learning throughout your retirement years. According to Di McKellar, manager of the Cardinia Waters retirement village, the expectations of retirees have changed with the latest generation of residents. In Cardinia Waters, the diverse range of activities and experiences on offer reflects the diversity of the village occupants. Residents are encouraged to organise and arrange their own activities, with the support of village management. As a result, there are a number of different programs for residents, from lawn bowls to gardening to organised overseas trips and more.
As well as the obvious social benefits of participating in community activities, there can also be great health advantages. According to recent research from the US National Institute on Aging, keeping active cognitively may ward off long-term diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, in later life. Point Cook Village Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator, Rosie Philip says “there are also many benefits from taking regular physical activity, including reduced blood pressure, less risk of cardiovascular disease and lower levels of stress”.
At Cardinia Waters Village and Point Cook Village, as at other retirement villages, seniors who are health minded can benefit from an on-site gym and pool. The community clubhouses at Cardinia Waters Village and Point Cook Village are much more affordable than off-site health facilities, and boasts a full gymnasium. There are plenty of exercise activities available for residents, including weight loss clubs and programs, tai chi, swimming and water aerobics. As well as gyms, the clubhouses also boasts a championship pennant bowling greens, for those who enjoy the traditional retirement activity. With so many great facilities right on your doorstep, there is no excuse not to get in shape!
For more creative types, there are plenty of craft activities, both for the hobbyist and the serious professional. There are drama groups and a village choir. For those who prefer to watch than participate, there is a movie club. There is also a gardening club for outdoor types, who like to relax with a little nature and get their hands dirty.
Within the retirement village, residents are encouraged to be as social or private as they like. For those who like to mingle, there is a full commercial kitchen in the clubhouse – perfect for hosting social events. Quieter residents can enjoy the library, and walking in the gardens. Ms McKellar stresses that although residents are supported and encouraged to try new things, there is never any pressure and the level of participation is entirely up to the individual. For those who do choose to get involved, the support of the community allows them to build their confidence, expand their horizons and create and deepen friendships with other residents.