Making Friends in an Over 55’s Lifestyle Village

Bob Southern, a proud father and grandfather, grew up in the southwest town of Harvey, just 130km from Perth. While Bob describes the first night in his new home as being far from relaxing, he’s now convinced that he’s discovered a way to add ten years to his life.

Making friends

Bob arrived at the over 55’s lifestyle village, Lakeside by Teman in Ravenswood, on a rainy night, and felt some initial worry.

“I had a sleepless night because I thought, well, ‘gee, it’s fairly daunting waking up the next morning in a brand new environment.’ I didn’t know anybody.”

That next morning, Bob remembers hearing a lot of laughter outside just after breakfast. With his home sitting just opposite the squareabout – a central recreational area within the village with barbecue facilities and a lawned area – Bob looked through his front window to see a group of people throwing “what looked like plates.”

On a whim, Bob decided to wander over and see what was going on, which he now looks back on as “the best thing ever.”

One of the ladies called for him to come and join in, explaining the rules of the game – disc bowls – and introducing him to almost thirty people in a matter of minutes.

Still playing nearly 18 years later, Bob is now a coordinator of the game, seeing it as a way to maintain existing friendships – and foster new ones – for anyone in the village.

Village life

Coming from a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the suburbs, Bob notes that moving into a lifestyle village is an adjustment at first.

Downsizing into a smaller home can feel like a big change of environment, but there are often huge benefits, including less cleaning, no costly maintenance, and living free from clutter.

Aside from the simpler way of life and excellent facilities, the range of activities, and quiet neighbourhoods, most of Lakeside’s residents agree that it’s the community that they love most, and Bob agrees:

“What I love about living at Lakeside is the camaraderie. Back in the suburbs, my neighbours didn’t talk to each other much. Here, everybody knows everybody.”

But there’s a drawback to being surrounded by so many friends: the number of people Bob sees when he heads out to collect his mail can quickly turn a short stroll into “an hour and a half” of catching up with friends.

Bob’s solution when he’s got a busy morning? To ride his bike.

Being active and social

When Bob initially moved to Lakeside, he was blown away by the number of activities available and the thriving communities attached to each of them, trying his hand at nearly all of them.

He soon found that, while he enjoyed all that he tried, it was “just impossible” to do everything.

He’s since cut his list of activities down to five-to-six throughout the year, including volunteering, coordinating disc bowls, playing golf and lawn bowls, bike riding, and Friday night happy hour at the Lakeside Community Centre.

And it’s not just the number of activities that caught Bob off guard: he recalls a fun story where he and two of his friends, Ned and Arthur, were discussing the idea of having a BBQ breakfast to get together on Australia Day.

“It was unheard of in the village at the time, but we thought we’d just do a letterbox drop and see what happens.”

The trio assumed there would be around twenty or thirty people interested in coming together for a bacon and egg breakfast, so they sent out the invitations and waited.

One hundred and seventy-four RSVPs later, Bob found himself wondering “How are we going to manage this? No shade, no chairs, no barbecues.”

Despite feeling under-prepared, the 2008 get-together was a “wonderful morning,” and they’ve been doing it every year since – now with large gazebos thanks to the Residents Association, two brick barbecues, and plenty of chairs.

Living better for longer

It’s not just a better life that Bob thinks he’s found at Lakeside by Teman, but a longer one, stating that if he hadn’t moved into the over 55’s community when he had, he “wouldn’t be on this earth” today.

With plenty of research backing up the long-held belief that good activity levels and healthy social lives help people live longer, Bob’s clearly onto something.

“If you want to add 10 years onto your life, come on down to Lakeside. You’ll have another 10 years for sure.”

Life’s good, and it’s even better here

Did you know we have Teman retirement villages across Australia? We are located in Cooranbong, Gillieston Heights, Cessnock, and Orange in New South Wales. Brisbane, Rockhampton, and Gladstone in Queensland. Perth and Ravenswood near Mandurah in Western Australia. If you’d like to know more about living in a Teman community, the benefits of a lifestyle village, or to preview our fantastic facilities, simply complete the form below and we’ll email you an information pack.