Graham and Helen Bell
“It’s not a retirement village – it’s a lifestyle village.”
Graham and Helen Bell lived in Flagstaff, only a block away, before coming to Alandale three years ago. “We used to walk past and vowed and declared we’d never come in here,” chuckles Graham. “But we really love it.” Graham said they’d never thought of going into a retirement village. But Alandale had an open day and they knew people living here so they “went and had a look”.
Helen could see straight away it would suit their lifestyle, while being close to shops and on a bus route was important to them. “That’s a huge thing. We have a grand daughter who comes quite often and I take her on the bus. Other retirement villages we’ve seen aren’t anywhere near a bus route.”
They are an active couple. Graham is an ex-Lion while Helen is a “people person”. They like to be busy. “We’ve joined a lot of things here. We’ve become involved quite quickly. Everyone helps each other.”
Helen is an Advisory Rep, keeping an eye out for residents’ welfare, and passing on worries to management, while Graham is on the social committee. They’re both a fan of the monthly dinners in the village and the way residents are sometimes seated randomly so they get to know each other. “I reckon it’s a great idea; I think everything should be like that really,” says Graham. “There’s seven at a table and because there are a lot of women here, there might be only one man. I do a bit of a stir and leave them to it,” he chuckles.
Helen recently went overseas for a few weeks and Graham was well looked after by other residents. “He hardly had a meal at home,” says Helen. “The people are great - that’s the main thing about Alandale.”
“But you don’t get people just popping in,” says Graham. “This is your own home, just like anywhere else,” he says. “And it’s secure. You can walk out and leave the doors open. It’s also nice to know that if something happens to you, your wife is left in a safe environment.”
While they enjoy the organised activities, there’s plenty of room for spontaneity. “Everything is not organised,” says Graham. “You can just wander outside on the patio and look at the river. Someone brings a bottle of wine down here and a few snacks. And the outlook is lovely. In the summer all the trees are out. There were about 30 tuis out here the other day.”
What would they say to other people considering moving to Alandale?
“I would say this is a wonderful place to be,” says Helen.
“It’s not a retirement village, it’s a lifestyle village”.