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David Jorgensen gives green thumbs-up to volunteering

Written by Alan Wood
on March 07, 2024

Choosing Northwood Retirement Village has worked out in spades for David and Eileen Jorgensen, allowing for pastimes including David’s passion for outdoor spaces.

His volunteer work in a nearby memorial garden allows him to both stay part of the wider community, and to keep fit.

When the couple decided to sell  their lovely home in Rangiora they eyed up a couple of Canterbury villages – and they are now very happy with their Ryman Healthcare choice at Northwood.

They love that they get all day sun in their swish townhouse and that they can keep up a social whirl in both their village setting and within their existing circle of friends from Rangiora and Christchurch.

David has been keeping busy with his gardening tools. As well as tackling the garden and vege patch that surrounds their home, he has recently started volunteering at Belfast-based Otukaikino, a living memorial garden that allows people to honour their loved ones after they’ve passed away. There is also an Otukaikino walk, that gives people a chance to walk around a 13-hectare freshwater wetland reserve.

David says there is always weeding to do at Otukaikino, even in the winter season. “The weeds keep growing... And Otukaikino can really use people to volunteer.”

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Gardening is a way to keep active while working with others on a worthwhile project. His friend Ian Pitt, whom he has known since their children were in scouting together, alerted him to the project and has built seats for the large garden space.

Eileen says the couple moved into Northwood village in mid-September last year, following their house sale. Her and David agree it has a great position within the social fabric of the village. “I think we’ve got one of the pick of the setups. We get the sun all day,” David says. “Here there is an amazing group of people with similar thoughts.”

He has reflected on what the couple have in terms of a safety net. He’s talked to friends of their age and they agree people’s health and retirement needs can change very quickly.

David says he can maintain his fitness through weeding some of the gardens near their townhouse, and he also helps maintain other gardens for friends on the east side of Christchurch. “I don’t see gardening as work really, I enjoy it as it helps me keep fit and I like things being tidy,” he says.

It is also the people who are important at Northwood, and these include fellow residents and the wonderful village team, who help organise outings and events such as the once-a-week Happy Hour for residents. “They’re brilliant... couldn’t be better,” he says of the staff.

He and Eileen like the ‘lock-up and leave’ aspect of the village. Eileen, for example, has recently been on a trans-Tasman cruise, and the couple plan to fly into Cairo in April for an Egyptian getaway including a cruise on the Nile river. Eileen says she loves the atmosphere of the village: “It’s like being on holiday all the time... it’s great.”

Sales Advisor Sharyn Wilson says it has been a privilege to welcome the Jorgensens amongst the first residents to move into the village in the north of Christchurch.

“Watching the village transform at the rate it has continues to add to the excitement here,” Sharyn says. 

“It’s been wonderful seeing our village grow and watching our residents form new friendships. We truly have so many lovely people moving in.”

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About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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