27 November 2020   

For Willowdale Retirement Village resident Denise Hayward, the timing of her retirement living journey couldn’t have been better.

Denise had lived in the same home since she was 23, but after almost 50 years, maintaining a large house with a pool was getting to be too much.


After some gentle nudging from her youngest son Dean - who passes Willowdale daily on his way to work – Denise, with her friend Carrol, made an appointment at the village in March. They both secured their new homes the very same day.


“I didn’t bother going to inspect any other villages - Willowdale ticked all my boxes,” she said.

“The buildings, the surrounds, the homes and the staff are all so good.

“I rang Dean straight away and he said he could hear the happiness in my voice.”


Denise managed the process herself and found a seller for her home within just four weeks, before happily joining the Willowdale community in June. Since then, she has been busy getting to know her fellow residents and getting settled into her new home.


Her spacious two bedroom villa has a study that can be used as an extra bedroom - especially handy when her grandkids come to stay - and she says the light colour scheme has made it easy to decorate and personalise.


“There was no way I was taking all my old furniture, so I sold it all and bought new - it’s been so fun.”


Dean says knowing his mum is secure and happy at Willowdale has given the family great peace of mind. “There’s just no worry or concern anymore,” he said. “We know Mum is in a community where she feels safe, she can speak to other people and make new friends, and she has so much freedom. “Every time we see her, she’s always so happy. I’m stoked for her.”


Denise’s mother, who lives in a retirement village in Sussex Inlet, has been singing the praises of retirement village living for many years. On a recent visit, Denise could tell her mum she finally understood what she had been talking about.


“It’s all in the timing, but now that I’m in I feel like I should have done it years ago.”

“I feel like I’m on a permanent holiday!”


Denise and her friend Carrol now live four doors down from each other, and Denise says that “every day is different” and they can’t wait to take full advantage of everything Willowdale has to offer as COVID restrictions begin to ease.


She said for her, the biggest change since the move is “the way I feel”. “Happiness bounces off the walls of my new home every day. “I’m so proud of myself for making this move and making these big decisions on my own, and I encourage anyone in my situation to do the same. Dean was my inspiration.


“My three other sons were very supportive, helpful and very happy for me.

“I wake up every morning and look around and pinch myself!” 

“We know Mum is in a community where she feels safe, she can speak to other people and make new friends, and she has so much freedom." - Denises' Son, Dean

Find out more about Willowdale Retirement Village's wonderful community. Call 1800 72 71 70 today to speak to Rebecca and arrange a tour of the stunning homes and over 55’s community.


This testimonial contains views and opinions expressed by residents of Stockland. The views, opinions and commentary of such individuals may not represent the views, opinions and commentary of all residents of Stockland. Stockland does not accept any liability for loss or damage arising as a result of any reliance on, the views, opinions and commentary of such individuals.