Heather had not even looked at any retirement villages, let alone thought about moving to one when she took a day trip to Berry to visit her daughter. While in Berry, she decided to stop at The Arbour to visit her friend Lorraine. She fell in love with the light, bright, open plan homes and decided this was where she wanted to be.
a view on retirement
Heather Isemonger had just completed an incredibly busy and involved, two year role as the National President of VIEW Clubs of Australia and had not even looked at any retirement villages, let alone thought about moving to a village, until she visited The Arbour at Berry, an over 55’s community, 2 hrs south of Sydney.
Heather was in Berry visiting her daughter, who owns a beautiful holiday home, built by Strongbuild, the award winning builder of the homes at The Arbour, and decided to visit Lorraine Montgomery, her successor as President of the VIEW clubs, an Arbour resident of nearly three years.
“I came down to see Lorraine and loved her home, which is identical to mine, and I thought, this is just magic, and just what I want, where I could feel I’ve got my own home which is light and bright and open plan but is also quite spacious – I just love it,” Heather says.
After bringing her daughter down to look at Lorraine’s place her comment was, “Mum, you would be mad if you don’t take this. You will never get anything half as nice in Sydney for that price.”
“I hadn’t even thought about selling my home of 45 years. I hadn’t even looked at anything in Sydney. My second daughter was concerned about me moving out of Sydney and away from the grandchildren. She asked ‘why was I going so far when I hadn’t looked at anything in Sydney,’ and my response was, ‘I don’t need to look any further, this is what I like and this will suit me fine.”
Top of Heather’s mind was how she would fit into The Arbour, as a single and a widow, surrounded by couples. “I’ve had many comments before I moved in and since having moved in, but I don’t feel out of place here at The Arbour. It is a difficult path you tread when you are widowed and a big percentage of the residents are couples.”
Heather was able to get a good feel for what life at The Arbour would be like through her discussions with Lorraine and also by attending a social BBQ where she was able to chat with other Arbour residents and potential residents in a friendly and casual way.
“I did a sleep over to gain a feel for the place. The fact that the display home was identical to mine meant I did get a perfect feel for it”.
The move to The Arbour meant leaving the home Heather built with her husband 45 years ago. “It was a bit of a wrench, but it was time to leave. I didn’t have the physical ability to keep maintaining the swimming pool, and coping with steps and stairs.”
“Here it is perfect, as I can walk out of my living room and out onto a lovely deck. I have a swimming pool but I don’t have to maintain it.”
“I have absolutely no regrets about leaving Sydney. I love the friendly attitude of the country people in the town and there are plenty of things to satisfy all my needs here within the Arbour and the community. I feel as though I have died and gone to heaven. The team here have made the transition so easy and welcoming for me”.
The Arbour features large, free standing homes, designed to maximise orientation and privacy and surrounded by manicured gardens and parkland. The Enclave is a private residents’ facility within The Arbour and features a heated indoor pool, 55 seat cinema, gym, bar and lounge areas. Homes start from $595,000.
VIEW, Heather’s passion, was founded in 1960 by The Smith Family as a service to women. VIEW provided women with the opportunity to promote the Voice, Interests and Education of Women, at a time when women were restricted by legislation and regulation about where they could go and what they could do. Nearly 20,000 women of all ages, and from all walks of life, belong to the 360+ clubs of VIEW around Australia.
While the role of women has changed significantly since 1960, most women, regardless of their circumstances, being either single, married, retired, divorced, a parent, widowed, pursuing a career or working from or in the home, still need and value female friends and confidantes.
VIEW Club members raise funds for The Smith Family to support the Learning for Life programs which provide long term support for young Australians in need, all through their schooling years, from primary school to senior school and on to tertiary studies if they so choose. Learning for Life sponsorships give ongoing financial assistance and support to disadvantaged students so they can develop vital life skills, stay engaged in their education and have the best opportunity to break the cycle of disadvantage.