For Wivenhoe Village resident Fred McCarthy, “keeping the mind active is key”.
It had been a year since the passing of his wife and Fred McCarthy was beginning to feel restless. The ongoing maintenance of the old family home in Ingleburn, with its extensive gardens and in-ground pool was causing extra stress and the friendly neighbourhood he loved was gradually changing.
As a retired man living amongst ‘working people’, it wasn’t unusual to only see the neighbours once or twice a week if that, and Fred was beginning to miss the social interaction. He quickly decided that it was time for a change.
With the support of his family, Fred began planning his next move. He looked at townhouses, units and lower maintenance homes. He weighed up the pro’s and cons of staying ‘local’ or moving to another area. It was really important to remain close to his sons and grandchildren as well as his existing support networks but Fred also wanted the opportunity to make new friends. After hearing about Wivenhoe Village which was in its very early stages at that time, Fred was encouraged by his sons to go and have a look.
“There were only one or two homes built then, they were surrounded by bushland but what I liked about it was the concept of the village itself and the design of the homes. One thing which really impressed me was that they were all standalone, open and spacious but they still felt very private. I decided that afternoon that this was the change I was looking for, so I put down my deposit there and then. It was the best decision I could have made”.
Since settling into his new ‘Adelaide’ home at Wivenhoe Village, Fred has been enjoying the little ‘luxuries’ of his new lifestyle.
“The house is light years ahead of what I had, I’ve got all these comforts which I didn’t have before, open plan lounge and dining, three bedrooms, ensuite with underfloor heating, dishwasher, gas fireplace, private courtyard, automatic garage door… It really is an upgrade for me!”
“I’m just content. Very content. I’ve become very relaxed since I’ve been here, I feel as though I can’t stop smiling. And it is reacting on everything that I am doing. I feel a lot more confident since I have been here, I’m now prepared to get up and do something, just have a go, so it has been really good.”
And Fred certainly has taken a shine to the community lifestyle, sitting on the Residents Committee at Wivenhoe Village and regularly attending social events such as morning teas, Friday happy hour and ‘secret mens business’ barbeques. Fred also takes advantage of his bushland surroundings by utilising the 7kms of walking tracks and cycleways which are found throughout the Kirkham Rise estate for his morning walks. A group of residents have recently started going fly-fishing together and there are plenty of smaller interest groups forming as the village population grows.
“I just feel really secure here, there is a real sense of community. Most of the people in the village are retired so there is always somebody here to have a chat to. That is something I was really missing before. It is so important to keep active as you age, both mentally and physically. For me, keeping the mind active is the key.”
Outside of village life, Fred relishes the chance to catch up with old friends and often heads in to town with a group of mates for a meal followed by a show or a movie. Fred is also a keen golfer who plays throughout the week in various competitions on courses from Hurstville to Campbelltown, Camden and Picton.
Travelling is another favourite pastime for Fred who has recently been on a trip to USA where he and a friend enjoyed a coach trip through the canyons & national parks of California, Arizona & Utah. They drove a car down the old Highway One from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then enjoyed a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.
“Being able to lock up and leave the house and know it will be looked after is a huge relief when you are going on a holiday. It is one less thing you have to think about”.
Fred also volunteers as a tutor at the Campbelltown Seniors Computer Club, where he facilitates beginners computer courses for seniors and has provided ipad and tablet training sessions at other retirement villages in the area.
Fred’s advice to others who are considering a similar retirement lifestyle – “It’s not for everyone, and I truly believe that, but if you are not doing anything like this when you retire, then you are really missing out!”