"My little dog Muffy tripped me up with his lead while I was feeding the chooks. I was knocked out and lay their unconscious for about 30 minutes. When I woke up, my little dog was looking at me - there was nobody else - and I thought it was damned silly to take this sort of risk."

Joan: "The two girls on each side of me were not home - they have little children - so I had to look after myself. When I finally got up and looked in the mirror, I discovered that I had smashed all my teeth across the front and had grazes all over my face, with a lot of blood. It looked like I had killed someone! Fortunately, I have always been as tough as nails."

"I will be 76 next month and it's always been a matter of ‘not me, says she' - there was no way I was going into a retirement village. Like a lot of people, I had this perception that retirement villages were for a whole lot of fuddy-duddies, and I am not a fuddy-duddy! But after the fall, I realised I needed the security."

"Everybody was delighted when I made the decision; my son had been
particularly worried about me being by myself and coping with the garden.  I had already had an incident where I was pulling kikuyu grass out by myself and ended up in hospital with badly strained muscles."

"But it was more than the security - I had been lonely since my husband passed away. Here I am able to meet people my own age and have company and companionship; I can go out to social occasions without getting an old sugar daddy. When you've had a companion for 50 years, it's very hard. They say I can talk under three feet of wet cement, but it's no good when you are only talking to yourself."

"I also wanted to be surrounded by trees. My husband was a state
manager and we moved around a lot, but we always had space. We were on 25 acres, three acres and then half an acre - but we always looked out on trees. Here at Waratah Highlands, we are still in a rural setting but the city centre is only 15 minutes away. There is a great feeling of openness and yes, there are plenty of mature trees."

"I also have the biggest of backyards here for Muffy to run around in, and I need it for the huge number of pots I have. My husband was big and strong - he was over six feet tall - and he was the ‘digger' while I was the ‘putter inner.' Here I can still do my gardening as I have the
groundsmen to do my digging."

"My old home had three bedrooms and one bathroom, but my new home here is two bedrooms, plus a study and two bathrooms. I'm only four feet 10 inches, so I have an amazing feeling of space.

Please click here to learn more about Waratah Highlands, Bargo.

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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.