Making the most of every day
“I’ve spent many years of my life on the land. My love for the lifestyle and the rewards are just too many. However, deciding to retire and live at Kepnock Grove retirement village is one of the many rewarding decisions I’ve made.”
Following in the footsteps of previous generations of her family, Margaret’s love of the land led her to work across rural Queensland and the Northern Territory, grazing livestock and farming cane, fruit, loofah, and aloe vera.
“I had over 20 years in the Territory, living on properties. It was a different lifestyle. That’s what I’m still adjusting to. I still miss the horses and the cattle and all those things,” Margaret said.
However, six years ago Margaret made the decision to retire in Kepnock, making her one-bedroom unit in the Carinity Kepnock Grove retirement village home.
Familiar with the Bundaberg district, and having friendships Australia wide, Margaret took the transition to the Kepnock lifestyle in her stride.
“My parents retired in Kepnock and lived in Miles Street, which is just up the hill from where we are here at Kepnock Grove village,” says Margaret.
“Having spent a number of years in Bundaberg I had a lot of friends here already. Having them pop in for coffee or going out for a meal together helped me settle.”
Additionally, an awareness of timing and age played a key part in her decision to move into the retirement village.
“I realised that the timing has to be right and age is a factor,” says Margaret. “I’d been going through a pretty dramatic few months health wise. My daughter had passed away many years ago and I had been more involved in caring for her three children. Now adults, they are successfully making their way in life.
“A friend of my daughter who was a manager and was working at Carinity Kepnock Grove at the time had mentioned this one-bedroom unit. I came and had a look at it, and I thought that this would be a good place to downsize to.”
While Margaret says downsizing is hard, and she’s still adjusting to life off the land, Kepnock Grove retirement village is her safety net. She enjoys the comfort that comes with knowing her neighbours.
With her love of the Japanese flower arrangement art of Ikebana, her garden provides hours of pleasure, and she relishes the visits from her family and friends.
Margaret shares just how small a world it is: “My current neighbour here at Kepnock Grove was my bridesmaid in Brisbane. We get along, have a chat when I’m out in my garden, and enjoy an evening drink together at night.”
Margaret’s safety net also extends to being “in close reach of the girls down at Carinity Home Care.”
After surgery to treat an aneurysm, Margaret felt herself slowing down. It was the advice from her doctor to “accept the fact that you can’t do the things that you think you can do” which saw her access government-subsidised help at home.
The team at Carinity Home Care support Margaret with cleaning, showering, shopping and assisted transport to appointments.
As Margaret faced additional health challenges her care needs were reassessed, and she was able to access further funding. This allowed Carinity Home Care to provide additional support through her Home Care Package.
“I just had to accept the fact that I needed more help”, acknowledged Margaret. “I had to give up driving a couple of months ago. I wasn’t prepared to take on Bundaberg traffic anymore.
“I now have some extra time with the carers – they pick me up and take me shopping, or sometimes I give them a list and they shop for me. There’s always someone available to take me to medical appointments, or go out and have a coffee together.
“The girls at Carinity Home Care are just so good. They’ve been very supportive, and we get on well.”
While Margaret says she’s had to quieten down a lot, she’s currently occupied with sifting through her old slides and photos from Alice Springs and Victoria River Downs for the local historical society. She enjoys regular visits from her son Ross and family, and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her first great-grandchild.
Reflecting on her decision to downsize and choose Kepnock Grove as her home, Margaret’s advice is: “Don’t leave it to the stage when you can’t do these things and make your own decisions.”
“Make the move early enough so that you can adjust and benefit from the change, sharing the journey with others in the village. Then you can get the support as you need it, and make the most of every day,” she says.