While relocating to a retirement village has its advantages, moving away from a close group of friends can be difficult – so why not move them with you?

That’s exactly what one large group of friends from the North Shore have decided to do. Three couples have already moved into the Fairview Retirement Village in Albany and are excited to be able to bring their community with them for the next chapter in their lives.

There are two remaining couples waiting to move into the village but they still participate in the group activities.

Over the years the group has grown in size and have met through work, their families, or their children. They have been doing what they call “rent-a-crowd” for 18 years and get together twice a week for meals, for Friday Happy Hours, and occasionally go on trips and play sports together.

Not much has changed since moving to Fairview – only now they are physically closer to each other and are able to see each other more often.

“It humbles us being all together. We’re like the 10 musketeers” says Robin, one of the original rent-a-crowd members.

Ian, another member says, “We’re all just orphans living together – parents have almost all gone and we just enjoy living close to our friends.”

While they have been involved in different hobbies and professions they all love to travel and enjoy life as a group. None of them could have imagined themselves living in a retirement community but now they are getting to experience this new stage of life together.

The Fairview group’s decision to move together aligns with research conducted a few years ago by Victoria University of Wellington researcher Kathy Glasgow.

Glasgow said we can expect baby boomers to adapt the retirement village model to reflect their worldview, such as creating eco-style retirement villages or small settlements that are communally managed. Her research found some people were planning communal living arrangements akin to the flatting arrangement of their teenage years.

“Flatting was a part of the boomer experience that was different from their parents’ generation, who commonly only left home when they got married.”

With families no longer living as close to each other as they used to, there wasn’t a strong expectation that children would be around or able to provide much support.

“This implies the need to explore opportunities for supporting more creative social networks,” said Glasgow.

Australian marketing expert Gill Walker agreed.

“Boomers want social engagement as that is the secret to youthfulness; they want a lifestyle with less worries, more ‘me time’, and importantly they want to stay healthy (mentally and physically) so as not to be a burden on their kids or have to go to aged care.

“Boomers will look to flock with friends not just family especially if their family are dispersed around the world.”

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