Pauline avoided St Vincent’s retirement living because she thought you had to be Catholic

“Oh Shirley,’ I said. ‘I’m not moving there. It’s depressing. It’s got those big brick walls.’ ”

It was Pauline’s hairdresser who had recommended the St Vincent’s Southport retirement villa to her to begin with. Pauline wasn’t convinced. “Why don’t you stick your head through and check it out? She said”.

pauline in her retirement village garden

“I looked in and had a look two or three days a week for a few weeks,” Pauline says.

“There were renovations happening to the rooms. I used to say to the builders, ‘Oh it’s me again, you mind if I have a look.’ ”

“Been here about 6 years now.”

“I love my unit. It’s small. But what else do I need?”

At first, hearing the name ‘St Vincent’s’ and knowing the community provoked a lot of hesitancy.

“I didn’t want to come in here because I thought you have to be Catholic, but you don’t.”

“I thought I wouldn’t be accepted because of my age, but everything worked out fine, and it went absolutely wonderful. So, I’ve been blessed. Very blessed.”

After all the decision making, came the move. But Pauline, like many others making the decision to downsize, had to take her time.

“My unit over there which is about twice the size of this place. I had to have that decluttered about three times before I moved over here.”

“I had to buy all new furniture here as well. It was time for a change. Good for a change.”

“With COVID, I just felt so safe here. I’m blessed. I’m blessed to be living here.”

But for Pauline, it’s not just the residents that make up the community at the Villa. It’s the staff too.

“We have been looked after wonderfully through COVID.”

“Staff are wonderful. The management are absolutely brilliant.”

“They’ve got gardeners too. We’ve got one who’s done heaps for the place. Scotty who’s been here a long time. They know us all. They’ve got lots of respect for us.”

As a part of living in retirement living, Pauline also takes advantage of St Vincent’s home care to give her a hand around the home, mainly because of her arthritis.

“I’ve got wonderful carers. One in particular who I have all the time. Her name’s Heather and she is just the ant’s pants to me.”

“I used to have three different providers for cleaning, shopping and a few other bits and I thought, ‘You’re stupid. See what they’re all about here.’ And I tell you they’ve been absolutely perfect. Absolutely perfect. I can’t speak highly enough of how they look after you here with the caring side of things.”

“And they’re just Johnny-on-the-spot. They’re right here. You know they’re on the premises all the time."

“I encourage everyone who moves in here to talk with St Vincent’s. They [new residents] don’t know anything about packages. I’m amazed I didn’t know much about packages when I moved in.”

“Now I’m on a Level 2 package now. New TV. New fridge because my other one had broken down. New vacuum cleaner. Anything you need that you would have to replace to keep you in your own home. It’s things like that. Which has been brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Can’t speak highly enough of that.”

In the end, while the Villa wasn’t Pauline’s first choice, it quickly became the right one.

“I’m not tied down anymore so I can get away now.”

“I can’t fault this place. This has become the last place I’ll need.”

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two retirement living residents smiling together in their garden