What my grandparents told me …

Grandpa and Grandma

Grandpa and Grandma

I was thinking about my grandparents this morning and some of the things they told me when I was little – and I believed them!

Consider the following:

  • Don’t pull faces because, if the wind changes, it will stay like that forever.
  • Grandpa always insisted on walking closest to the curb. He said that a gentleman should be willing to take the splashes from the puddles in the road.
  • Grandma said she couldn’t go to the swimming pool because it would overflow if she jumped in.
  • They both said they couldn’t go to church because the roof would fall it (an old excuse :-))
  • Grandpa always insisted it was very rude to wear a hat in the house, unless of course you were a lady.
  • Grandma treated my gifts of jewellery from the lolly shop as though they really were very valuable.
  • I am sure there are many more gems of wisdom they imparted over the years.

Grandpa (1884 – 1969) married Grandma (1889 – 1983) in 1911 in Kerang, Victoria and went on to have eight children – one of whom was my father. We lived next door to them for many years and I spent a lot of time with them and have fond memories.

I can’t help but wonder what they would make of our world today.

Health …

sleep apnea 001 (Copy)

I am thinking about ‘health’ for the past week. Not that I am sick or have any big revelations about it, but I am considering how we deal with whatever our health status is.

Some people make a big deal out of minor ailments and yet some others are silent and brave about serious concerns.

I believe that as we get older, the health system responds to us differently. This is when the doctor responds to your concerns with, “it is normal for that to happen at your age.” They don’t seem quite as enthusiastic about fixing us up as we get older.

Another aspect about health – do we talk about it? When is it appropriate and when is it not?

Should we be proactive and do our own research (via Dr Google) or trust in the knowledge and experience of our health care professionals – or a bit of both?

Then there is the scientific approach to health or the alternative therapies. I lean very much toward the medical model – maybe because Medicare will subsidize me if I see a doctor but I pay the full cost if I see someone who practices natural therapies.

What part does our mind play in our health? I am sure it plays a significant role but can we think ourselves better? I know we can think ourselves sick!

So there you have it – a week’s reflection on health, summed up in less than 300 words 🙂

Things were not as they should be

Augustine Street Cohuna Victoria 001My elderly aunt was being cared for in the dementia ward of the local retirement village. It was about four years ago that I visited her from Western Australia. She had very few personal items with her and she asked me to go to her home and bring some toiletries etc back for her. The staff also gave me a short list of items she needed.

I opened the door to her home – it felt a little strange without her there and it had a musty smell about it because the doors and windows were shut tight. On the list was some talcum powder. I checked the bathroom and there were several tins of powder but they were all empty. I decided to treat my aunt to some nice new toiletries instead.

Much to my surprise, my aunt was very upset to learn there was no talc in her bathroom. She believed that someone had broken in and stolen it. Things were not as they should be!

Unfortunately this event came to be a symbol for me of her dementia. She really believed that someone was stealing from her vacant home. I could believe that, but I couldn’t believe someone would steal talcum powder (and leave the empty containers in situ).

It was true that something was not as it should be – sadly it was my aunt’s deteriorating mental and physical health.

Pros and Cons of Lifestyle Villages

We decided to move into our current home in a Lifestyle Village (a retirement village for people 55 and over) about three and a half years ago. We didn’t look at other Villages and didn’t do much research on the options available.

If you are considering moving into a Lifestyle Village there are a lot of things to think about. Acquiring a Lifetime Lease for our property cost about the same as purchasing a similar house in the wider community. There was a saving in that Retirement Villages are not required to pay Stamp Duty. Retirement Villages are covered in legislation through the Retirement Village Act (currently being amended).

However, there are ongoing costs on a monthly basis, similar to Strata Fees. These fees cover the operational cost of the Village. Currently there are approximately 180 homes in our gated community. Only the occupied homes contribute to the fees that pay for the overall operation of the Village.

The owners of the Village have a Board and a Chief Executive Officer. They employ a Manager to run the place on a day-to-day basis. There is also a Residents Association, elected annually by the residents, to represent the interests of the residents. The Village also employs a contract gardener and a part-time maintenance person.

Facilities include a gymnasium, bowling green, swimming pool, spa and sauna. There is a Social Club who organise a variety of activities plus there are exercise classes, table-tennis, a Bridge club, singing, arts and crafts and so forth.

As with any small community, there can be differences of opinion and sometimes conflict. From my point of view, it is difficult to reconcile the needs of the owners (to make money), the management (keeping things in order) and the residents association (seeking to address the diverse interests of the residents) and the residents themselves. In a perfect world they would all work together for the greater good – but this isn’t always the case, unfortunately!

The benefits include knowing your neighbours (very unlikely to get a bikie club setting up next door, is there Ted & Rae?) and the sense of keeping an eye out for each other – an informal Neighbourhood Watch. It gives one a sense of security. We are fortunate to have great neighbours 🙂 who I consider to be good friends.

If you are thinking of moving into a Village like ours, do as much research as you can, especially about ongoing fees and the likely financial impact if you decide it is not for you. It is hard to buy and sell in the broader real estate market but one needs to be even more prudent with retirement villages. I am sure the houses will increase in value over many years (great location) but they are not a good option for a short to mid-term investment.

The other thing to consider is the impact of living within a narrow demographic of the broader community, especially if one is younger and/or still in the workforce. Obviously we all get older so this can be a temporary issue :-). In a few years I may be complaining about those ‘youngsters’!



50 Something

Post 499

I subscribe to a magazine called “50 Something”. It is part of National Seniors Australia who advocate for the rights of seniors (over 50’s in this case) in Australia. In the April/May edition of the magazine they did a feature on the trend for seniors to move to a country location on retirement – what we call the “tree change” or “sea change” lifestyle. The article encouraged readers to seriously do their research before making such decisions. Many people decide to move to what was previously their favourite holiday destination. Living in a community is very different from going there for a holiday.

I have just received the June/July edition and am struck by the number of people who endorsed (because of their own experience) the need for serious consideration before moving to the country.

We made the decision to move to the country three years ago. We don’t regret our decision as we love where we live however I do miss the friends I had in the city. I have kept in touch with some but it is much harder to keep the friendships going  – we can’t meet for the occasional coffee or a quick lunch. Most of my friends in the city are still in full-time employment.

Just as well that I have my blogging buddies to communicate with now 🙂



Weekly Photo Challenge: In my neighbourhood

Entrance to Fish Shop


I have defined neighbourhood as “within walking distance”. And a confession – I haven’t used my phone for taking photos as suggested for this post! I have the manual out of the box and I will LEARN! These photos are taken with my “normal” camera and are from my archives.

The first photo featured is a Fish Supply Store. In an earlier life it was a petrol station. Last night we had some Red Emperor fish from this store.

Unique Drive In Theatre

This Drive-In theatre is a relic of the past. It is one of a handful of open air theatres still operating in Western Australia. The movies are a bit dated now.

walking to the shops

This is what I see walking to my local shops. As you can see, it has lots of holiday accommodation. We came here for holidays in the past and liked it so much we decided to move here as lots of other people have done as well 🙂

Geographe Bay in sunshine

One of the reasons we moved here is the close proximity to this beautiful calm beach – Geographe Bay on the Indian Ocean.

Village Square

We live in an Over 55’s Lifestyle Village that is like a little town all on its own. We have great neighbours and excellent facilities but we still take part in the wider neighbourhood.

My street 2

This is a view from my front door looking to the left. The Jacaranda trees are magnificent when in bloom with purple flowers.



PS WordPress photo up loader was a real challenge today. It would not accept a lot of my photos (Error message)!



Thinking of baby names?

stock-vector-happy-meadow-pattern-95847565I recently met a lady who is having a baby soon. We got talking about baby names. If she has a boy she is going to call him Henry and if it is a girl she likes Elsie. Have you noticed that a lot of old names are now popular?

There are over 200 residents in the Over 55’s Lifestyle Village where I live (I am only a teeny bit past 55 :-)) and yet we get by with around 110 names. The most frequent name for men is John and for women it is Margaret.

There are some great names living among us. To protect the innocent I will only mention their first names!

A.  Alan and Allan, Alice, Alison, Anita, Ann or Anna

B. Babs,  Barbara, Bernice, Bess, Betty, Brigita

C. Christa, Christine, Clifford, Colin, Colleen, Coral, Cynthia

D. Daniel, David, Delys, Denise, Derek, Diana

E.  Edward (Ted), Eileen, Ellen, Esma, Ester, Evelyn

F. Fay, Francine, Frank

G. Gail, Gary, Geoffrey (Geoff), Geraldine, Gillian, Gordon

H. Harold, Helen, Hugh

I. Ian, Ivy

J. Jacky, Jan, Jane, Jean, Jennifer, Jill, Joan, Joy, Judith, Julie, June

K. Kate, Kathleen, Kay, Keith, Kerry, Kurt

L. Lesley, Lois, Lorraine, Lynne

M. Malcolm, Margaret, Maria, Marie, Marion, Maureen, Maxwell, Mervyn, Moya

N. Nancy, Neil

O. Olive

P. Pamela, Patricia, Pauline, Peggy, Peter

Q. Nil

R. Rae, Raymond, Rene, Richard, Ronald, Rosemary, Ruth

S. Samantha, Shane, Sheila, Sher, Sue, Sylvia

T. Terri, Thelma, Thomas (Tom), Trevor, Trina

U. Ursula

V. Valda, Valerie, Valmai, Vivienne, Von

W. William (Bill)

X. Nil

Y. Nil

Z. Zelma



Calling on “baby boomers”

Are you retiring soon or thinking of retiring? Or are you just reflecting on what lies ahead of you? I am really interested to hear from you about what your major concerns are as you look towards retirement and the inevitability of getting older.

I am considering developing some workshops for people in this age group ie 50+. If you have gone through, or are going through the phase of elderly or unwell parents, it can become an overwhelming and depressing time. Have you ever thought “Is this all I have to look forward to?”

I want to find out what are the important factors in ageing well. I expect that good health and financial security are a good start. But what does “financial security” really mean? Some people can live on around $15,000 per year whereas some others couldn’t do it on less than $70,000 per year.

How do we plan for our retirement when we don’t know how long that will be for? So many times I hear people say “If only I knew how long my money had to last!”

And then  the problem of “who am I if I am not working” now that I cannot define myself by my job. This can be a real-time of identity crisis. What can be done to aid people (us) through this period in a more positive way?

I am meeting with another woman in about a week’s time to discuss these ideas (she has just undertaken some work for the local council to identify what seniors want in their community). I figure that if these questions are important to me, then it’s fair to assume they may ring true for other baby boomers as well. I would greatly value

the times are changing

your opinion please.

Please feel free to just send me one or two points that you think are important. Alternatively you can disagree with the idea that anything needs to be done.

Thanks, in anticipation