When Val Hutchison put her name down to express interest in Ryman Healthcare’s future retirement village at Highton, in Geelong, she left her husband Daryl’s name out.
“Daryl was dead against retirement villages at that stage,” Val chuckles.
But, almost two years after completing that form, both Val and Daryl are counting down the months until they call the village at 157 South Valley Rd home.
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While the couple are “really looking forward” to using the village’s facilities, including a cinema, swimming pool and library, it was the continuum of care, should their health needs change, that made Ryman stand out from other retirement village providers.
“We had been looking to downsize for about two years, and there have been quite a few health issues during that time,” Val said.
“About four months ago Daryl broke his leg.
“When it happened, I said to him ‘I think it might be time for a retirement village’, and he said ‘yup, I think you might be right’.
“That was music to my ears.”
Conversations with their sons, who agreed there was “no logic” in moving to a village without aged-care on site, sealed the deal.
Since signing on the dotted line in December, Val has enjoyed sorting through the family’s possessions.
“I’ve been selling on ‘Buy, Swap and Sell’. I’m about to stop because the house is starting to look a bit bare.
“But I’ve seen many offspring when their family passes away get left with so much work.
“It’s a great relief to know that won’t happen for our sons.”
Val said they were also looking forward to creating a new home, with the aid of an interior designer provided by Ryman.
While the village will offer security for the future, in many ways life won’t change too much for the couple.
“It’s where we already shop, it’s where our bank is, all of the facilities we use are there,” Daryl said.
“Everything about it is just right.”
The village will include 57 villas, 23 apartments, 60 serviced apartments, and 100 care beds across low care, high care and specialist dementia care.