Mo and Cathy Stauner had been living in the family home for 17 years when they decided that it was time to make a change – a sea change.
"We were both still working and found with our huge yard, gardening was all we were doing on the weekends – and we were getting really tired of it,” explained Cathy.
It wasn’t until Cathy visited a friend at Hillsview Retirement Village in Happy Valley, South Australia, that the couple began to consider retirement living. There was a vacant home four doors down from her friend’s place – and when Cathy noticed the sea views, she was inspired.
“I grew up near the sea – and the idea of having a home with views to the sea again, it made me really excited,” says Cathy.
Mo said he was ambivalent at first, “But if Cathy's happy I'm happy. The location was a huge factor – you’re just not going to be able to get that anywhere else and for the same price.”
Aged 59 and 62 at the time, they didn’t quite feel they were at retirement age – but were certainly ready for a lifestyle shift.
“When you move into a retirement village you are buying a lifestyle,” says Mo. “Some people think they'll move in and sell their property 20 years later – that’s the wrong attitude.”
Mo and Cathy felt great benefits as they settled into the village – from social aspects, to home maintenance and access to great facilities.
“We’re really happy that we made the decision to move while we were still at work,” says Mo. “It has made for a really pleasant transition and wind down period.”
Cathy continues, “It frees you up while you're working. We can ask for help with maintenance if we don't have time – and we can go away without having to worry about the lawns being mowed.”
Mo and Cathy have been at Hillsview for five years now, and for a period of this time, Mo was working in a remote Aboriginal community in the APY Lands as a financial counsellor.
“I was so happy to know Cathy was in a secure environment with plenty of people around her,” says Mo.
For Cathy, it was a huge relief to reduce their gardening to care for a couple of deciduous trees, a flowerbed and Mo’s patch in the communal vegetable garden. Patches are set at different heights to cater for all levels of mobility, encouraging everyone to participate in gardening.
“It kept us in stock all summer,” says Cathy. “We had zucchinis, eggplants and capsicum.”
There are also a number of other activities for residents to engage in on a daily basis. While Cathy still works, Mo is now retired and enjoys participating in the community activities.
“You can do as much or as little as you want,” says Mo. “We have a bowling green, a croquet club and swimming pool. Monday is card night, Tuesday and Thursday we have indoor bowls, Wednesday is darts and Saturday and Sunday we have happy hour groups. We also have a monthly social club and go on bus trips.”
Mo also drives the bus to take the residents shopping twice a week at the nearby shopping centre, but generally, he and Cathy enjoy walking around the neighbourhood.
“We both walk a lot – there's a doctor's surgery at the bottom of the hill and two large shopping centres very nearby. There's also a public bus which stops right at our door – it’s really easy to get into the city by bus,” says Mo.
For those who need assistance, there’s a door-to-door pick up system to help them home after grocery shopping or a doctor's visit.
As younger members of the community, Mo and Cathy feel confident looking into their future at Hillsview.
“It’s such a friendly community, with a lot of care, social aspects and encouraged independence which makes for a wonderful life balance,” says Mo. “Having a staggered approach to retirement living has been great. It’s given us the time and freedom to settle into our new lives and feel excited for what’s to come.”
“When you move into a retirement village you are buying a lifestyle,” says Mo. “Some people think they'll move in and sell their property 20 years later – that’s the wrong attitude.” - Mo Stauner