Be part of a friendly community of like-minded people who share your interests and experiences; great for both singles and couples.

“It’s a lifestyle choice as much as a residential… Oh, excuse me, I have to go. Someone’s dropped by for a chat…”

Ask residents what they like best about their retirement village and invariably they mention the strong sense of community.

From fulfilling friendships forged in a supportive environment, to the pleasure of company whenever you want it, living amongst like-minded neighbours at the same stage of life has distinct social benefits.

Residents cherish the shared activities, convivial atmosphere and sense of belonging that make village life unique.

At Willowdale Retirement Village near Leppington in Sydney’s southwest, Steve from the residents’ social committee says village living is “like a holiday camp.”

“There’s always something to do – and someone to do it with. The social committee is a village’s heart keeping residents connected, Steve says.

“Our constitution says that our purpose is to bring the community together.” It’s a mission they do their best to fulfill.

Steve and his fellow social committee members organise a huge number of regular activities plus fundraisers for the village and the broader community.

Residents opening the new community gardens at Willowdale Retirement Village in Denham Court NSW.
Residents opening the new community gardens at Willowdale Retirement Village in Denham Court NSW.

“We have a games afternoon every week, monthly excursions, book club, walking groups. Once a month we play trivia. On Friday evenings, we have a social night with a raffle. The funds from the Clubhouse bar go back into the community to subsidise other events. Even the people who don’t drink will donate a bit too because they want to contribute and they feel that they are part of the community.

“Everyone wants to get involved here. The knitting group donates items to the local hospital for premature babies and recently we did a Farmers’ Aid fundraiser.”
The emphasis on inclusion is what sets village living apart, Steve says. “There’s a welcoming committee. When new residents are settled in, we introduce ourselves and talk them through the activities and invite them to join in.

“I went to my first function the day I moved in — Melbourne Cup Day, 2016. We had a barbie and finger food and a race. What more could you ask for?
“When I came back from a month away overseas, it took me 20 minutes to get from the front gate to my unit with all the people stopping to ask about my holiday. That wouldn’t happen in my old neighbourhood.”

Village management is crucial to community building too. Steve says Willowdale’s manager, Nella Spencer, “does a wonderful job and is very involved,” while group manager Stockland’s focus on wellbeing brings the village together for events like its recent Health and Lifestyle Expo.

If you’re thinking about making the move, Steve says meet the residents in a village before you commit because ultimately the people make the place.

“It’s a lifestyle choice as much as a residential…. Oh, excuse me, I have to go. Someone’s dropped by for a chat.”