“We were very quiet in suburbia but we have a great social life now; this is perfect for us,” explains Maureen Hay.
Since settling into the Village last year, she and husband, John, have relished the social benefits of community living.
“’I wish I’d done this years ago’ is what we most hear from residents within three to five months of moving in because they’re enjoying themselves so much,” says Village Project Director John Green.
And, while there are more than 25 Village social activities on offer – from yoga to table tennis, book, art and gardening clubs – as well as regular outings and special events, it’s not just about fun.
“Many believe the camaraderie, friendships and activities are adding years to their life,” reports John.
And research is increasingly supporting the idea that more frequent social contact is linked to higher life satisfaction and overall health.
An article in the American Psychologist journal reports ‘being embedded in high-quality close relationships and feeling socially connected…is associated with decreased risk for all-cause mortality as well as a range of disease morbidities.”
Research by one of the article’s authors, Brigham Young University’s Dr Julianne Holt-Lunstad, indicates the impact of a lack of social connection on our health is comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
“Many residents move here to be closer to family but their children and grandkids are often still very busy, so our community fills that social gap,” says John.
“They love that they have so many friends around them, and if family drop in, it’s a bonus.”
The UK now recognises loneliness as a health priority and research reveals Australians are not immune to loneliness either.
According to one local study, one in three people reported an episode of loneliness between 2001 and 2009.
But lifestyle communities can make staying socially connected easier.
Resident Dawn O’Callaghan shifted to be closer to her daughter and grandkids – and her brother, sister and brother-in-law all live in the Village.
“You don’t get lonely here; there’s always someone around to have morning tea or coffee with,” she says.
Creating opportunities to connect isn’t left to chance – it’s strategically and successfully designed into the Village to boost health and wellbeing.
“Some people find it easy to isolate themselves living in their own home in the suburbs,” John states.
“We’ve deliberately made it simple and natural for residents to connect, if they choose to.
“We have a wonderful $6 million Clubhouse that encourages all manner of events, functions and opportunities to meet, from aqua aerobics in the heated swimming pool to keeping fit in the gym or playing pool or darts with friends.
“There are pocket parks tucked around the homes where people can gather for BBQs, a wine, or just to chat, our mailboxes are at the Clubhouse, and there’s a central recycling hub so, as people do their everyday tasks, they can very naturally interact.
“The hobby workshop is another great way to meet like-minded friends and each home has enough space to have guests over too.”
Even during COVID-19, when surveys show loneliness impacted more Australians than ever, Village residents held distanced street gatherings featuring performances by the resident band.
“The Village is often described as a playground because residents feel like they’re on holiday all year round,” says John.
“And being around others inspires and motivates us, which is fantastic for health and wellbeing.”
Information in this article is true and correct as of 17 October 2022.Back to Newsroom