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The Goldilocks of retirement homes

Big enough to have everything you need, but small enough to retain a close, caring village community.

85-year-old Helen, who shares her independent apartment with canine village celebrity Buddy, knows more than most just how deep that community support runs.

Helen gets teary as she speaks about her late husband, Geoff, who passed away in 2016 – “I still miss him” – but smiles as she recounts how fellow residents and staff responded.

“The whole community rallied around me and it was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

When she saw Weary Dunlop’s maintenance man sitting in a pew at Geoff’s funeral, proudly wearing his Ryman uniform, she knew “care and kindness” was more than an advertising tagline.

Not long after Geoff’s passing, Helen once again felt the warm embrace of the village when a health issue made taking Buddy for his four walks a day difficult.

Friends quickly put together a roster to help, and two years later Buddy is still enjoying his long morning strolls with residents Bill and Wayne three days a week.

“That’s the sort of people they are here, they’re just wonderful.”


And while Helen says she has everything she could possibly need within the village gates, Weary Dunlop’s proximity to an array of local amenities makes stepping out when she wants to quick and easy.

“It’s very accessible to the shopping centre up the road, and you don’t have to cross the street.”

Something of a social butterfly, Helen is a regular at weekly Happy Hours, where she enjoys a drink and a catch up with the many new friends she’s made since moving into the village.

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“The whole community rallied around me and it was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.” 

 

 

You’ll see her at many of the village-organised events and activities, which she says are a great way to maintain social connections and foster a unique sense of community.

“You have to meet people and put yourself out there.”

Helen first heard of Weary Dunlop retirement village through her son’s father-in-law, Max, who had dealings with Ryman Healthcare as a sponsor of his bowls club.

Max, who is now happily ensconced with his wife, Heather, in a beautiful, bowling green-side apartment at Ryman’s new Nellie Melba retirement village, encouraged Helen to have a look at Weary Dunlop.

“I made up my straight away, but poor darling Geoff had dementia and he tossed and turned [over the decision] but we went ahead with it.” She certainly doesn’t regret the decision.

It provided immediate access for Geoff to Weary Dunlop’s care centre - a big driver behind their decision to move - while at the same time ensuring they were never far apart.

Helen says she understands the challenges of being a single woman later in life, but she has some simple advice for anyone like her who is thinking about moving into a village like Weary Dunlop: “I’d say go for it hands down, I really would.”

“The atmosphere in this village is fantastic, it’s something really special I think.”

 

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