One of the largest, annual surveys of retirees, involving the majority of the 10,000 residents of 62 Stockland Retirement Villages across Australia, has revealed that one of the secrets to a happy life in retirement is to maintain an active social life as part of a well-connected and supportive community.

Residents cited the social life within their community as their number one priority, with seniors increasingly engaging in a wide range of social activities in the village that surrounds their homes.

Almost one third (32%) of the 6,668 respondents of the Stockland Resident Voice 2014 Survey, said the social life of their village was the most important factor, followed by the quality of their home (29%).

One village resident who is extremely satisfied and fully embracing village life is Maureen Gattenhof (74). Having lived at the Macarthur Gardens Retirement Village in Campbelltown, South West Sydney, for just over two years, Mrs Gattenhof feels she has become more active, confident and social since she moved in and embraced her new community.

“I try to be involved in anything that is going on whether it’s happy hour, a singing class or learning the recorder. I am not the sporty type but I am enjoying the gentle exercise classes a lot and take part in ballroom dancing every Thursday. I have something on nearly every day, I actually have too much going on.”

“Then there is the village café,” added Mrs Gattenhof. “If there is ever a time you do feel a bit lonely you can just pop your head in to see who is there. You don’t need to buy a meal. You can just sit down and have a coffee and chat with someone. There is always a chance to socialise.”

Mernda Retirement Village residents Mary and Neil also confirm this attitude, regularly participating in organised activities such as arts and crafts, the Walking group or a Happy Hour drink with other residents. They are eager to enjoy all of the new facilities in the state-of-the-art Clubhouse which opened last week.

“The community is very friendly and open, we have been a part of lots of social activities and events already. We are really looking forward to using the pool and gym in the new Clubhouse, it looks great and will give us more area to be involved in more things.”

The survey also confirmed that the majority of older Australians who moved to Stockland retirement villages were satisfied with their decision and in fact wish they had moved earlier. Around 90% of residents rated their satisfaction of living in a Stockland village as 7 out of 10 or higher, and one third rated it as a perfect 10 out of 10.

Mernda Resident Lynette who moved into the village in September last year, advises people to consider the move sooner rather than later.

“It’s the best thing I have ever done. I feel like I have a new lease on life. It’s a lovely lifestyle here at Mernda, everything is so handy the village is flat and easy to walk around and the shops are very close. You feel you have more freedom and all of the people are so nice.”

For more information about Stockland retirement villages or to order your free “Guide to Retirement Village Living” visit stocklandretire.com.au 

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

The Donaldson Sisters present important topics and perspectives on the table for open discussion – topics that don’t often get raised in the mainstream media and voices and perspectives less frequently heard. Subscribe to their newsletter here.