The world is becoming increasingly separated, and there are times when all of us could do with a helping hand or the support of a friend. Remember when neighbours had time to stop for a chat, cared about each other, and waved a friendly hello in passing? A caring community can bring many things to one’s life. Connection, friendship, caring, or even support.
After having just moved to the Jane Mander Retirement Village in Whangarei, Bill and Leone suffered an incredible tragedy. Bill and Leone’s son had passed away.
“We were devastated of course, although we had expected it, being that it had been a seven-year journey,” Leone recalls. It was a hard time as they struggled with the loss and grief. Time passed, and on a whim, Bill decided that they should go down to Happy Hour. Within that very evening they had managed to engage with and become a part of the village community.
“Well it was just the way we were taken in by them, you know, ‘come and sit here’ sort of thing,” Bill elaborates. “They helped us settle into this place and made it feel like home.”
“Yes, feeling our grief with us, which was very nice, but not intruding on that.” Leone continues.
Within the village community, they found a support network of not only concern and understanding but one that understood the challenges they were facing. Knowing when to lean in and when to give them the space that they needed to work through their loss.
Leone remembers, “One little lady who was almost blind, arrived with the most beautiful lemon meringue pie for us. A kind gesture like that money can’t buy.”
“They helped us settle into this place and made it feel like home.”
Bill, Jane Mander resident
Leone embraced the community spirit and joined the Glee Club, a singing group located in the village. Leone had been singing as part of a quartet for over 20 years and was happy and excited to be able to give back to the community. “It’s been a great source of comfort, and amusement”, she says. “I thoroughly enjoy it.”
It’s not just Leone, Bill has been enjoying his monthly quizzes and a new-found passion for bowls. But it didn’t stop there. Bill may not have expected it, but he too has become a regular at the Glee Club. “I went down there one day, and I just started singing. Now I make more noise than anybody,” he laughs.
Leone has been overjoyed by Bill’s interest in trying new things. “He’s done things here he would never have done before. I’m really quite proud of him,” she tells us.
Having seen what such a kind and generous community they have become a part of, they are enthusiastic to share the message and invite others to join them.
“There are no strangers here, just friends we haven’t met. That’s exactly how it goes here. It’s a loving, caring community.”
Leone, Jane Mander resident
Being a part of a close-knit community has done wonders for Bill and Leone. They have made new friends, new connections and are enjoying past times both old and new. They feel that they have made the right move at the right time for them, and thoroughly enjoy the village community and the lifestyle it offers. Leone says, “there are no strangers here, just friends we haven’t met. That’s exactly how it goes here. It’s a loving, caring community.”