In his 60s and super fit, Andrew Plant (pictured above) defies every retirement villager stereotype. He’s not old, he’s not slowing down, and he’s not even retired! Andrew is a full-time fire safety and training consultant who lives life to the fullest every day.
Andrew Plant and his wife Shirley moved into The Village Yeronga last July from suburban Petrie.
After thinking about what they wanted from the rest of their lives, they realised that retirement living offered them the perfect lifestyle — for now and into the future.
The freedom of village life was a big drawcard. Maintaining their large home and garden was time consuming and expensive, and, with the kids grown up, it just wasn’t their main priority anymore.
“We built the [Petrie] house 27 years ago and it needed some work: new fencing, garden work, internal painting. All those big-ticket items would have sucked a lot of money. We wanted something where we didn’t have to spend money on upkeep and can travel when I retire instead of pouring it all into the house.
“Our son said, ‘Dad, for all the years we were growing up we had a beautiful, big home with big gardens but that’s all you did — work on the house and garden.’ Now, we have a very well-maintained place to live and I don’t have to do that anymore,” Andrew says.
They considered moving into a flat and had a look at a few complexes in the central Brisbane area but, Andrew says, “you don’t know who you’re living next to in a flat”.
With its strong sense of community, that’s not a problem at The Village Yeronga. “It’s like a resort. You feel involved; you feel part of a community that embraces the same lifestyle,” he says. “We felt at home right away.”
Being an avid cyclist, Andrew says he knew it was the place for him from the moment they drove in the gates. “When I saw all the bicycles in the car park, I thought ‘Woo hoo! There’s lots of cyclists here!’ I met my cycling partner within a few weeks of moving in. On Saturdays, we do 60-70 kilometres around the Mt Coot-Tha area and back. It’s one of the beauties of being here.
“The lifestyle is just fantastic, you don’t have to drive to the gym, so there’s no excuse, and it’s open 24 hours a day. The swimming pool, a 25-metre lap pool, is open 24 hours a day.
“You can go any time of the day or night,” Andrew says.
Even better, his 10-year-old granddaughter loves spending time at their community — the environment makes her feel very welcome.
“We go for long walks together, watch a film, she likes coming over to swim in the pool. “During the holidays, she stayed with us for a fortnight,” Andrew says. “She told me she had the happiest day of her life doing line dancing here.”
The hospitable atmosphere at The Village Yeronga is largely due to the caring staff and management team, he says.
“They’re always surveying us about what they could improve and do better. And they’re so friendly. Five seconds of ‘Hello, how are you going?,’ can turn into a whole conversation. They’re actually interested in what you’re doing.”
In Queensland, there’s a retirement community to suit every lifestyle but to get the most out of retirement living, Andrew says follow the old real estate adage: location, location, location.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices by area, consider accessibility and facilities, he says.
“As you age, it’s little things like nice, flat outside areas, facilities that you’ll use and activities that you enjoy.
“A block of units has nothing. You have to go out and find something to do, but what happens when you can’t drive anymore? You don’t have to do that in a village; everything’s all here.”