James Wattie Retirement Village resident Annie describes herself as ‘a pretty active old bird’, but she still takes the time to smell the roses and enjoy the country atmosphere that surrounds the village in Havelock North.
Annie chose to move to an apartment after a two-year project restoring her 1920s villa and garden in Napier South.
“I started to downsize instinctively,” she said. Then when she saw an article about the Ryman Healthcare development in Havelock North, she went to look at the plans.
“I loved the upstairs apartment. I said, ‘I’m going to have it.’ That’s what I do!”
She chose James Wattie Village after carefully observing the journey of older members of her own family who required care and were living in a Ryman village. “They were always very happy.”
Making her own decisions about her future was top of the list for Annie. “With my children overseas, I don’t want my family to go through the worry of ‘what will we do with mum’. It had to be at the right time for me.
“And that is exactly what I did!
“I wanted to make that choice while I was fit and mentally able to do so.
“Now I’m in the most amazing supportive system, and I am well looked after and safe. The village is there if we need help - we only need to ask.
“It’s all taken care of, and I feel in control.”
Annie is a practising mixed media artist and exhibits her contemporary works in a local gallery. “My spare room is my studio – the light is magnificent, and I look out over the beautiful hills. I absolutely love my apartment.
“I have produced a lot of work since I have been here and that means I’m happy. I’m happy when I’m working.
“I knew no one here when I moved in, and I didn’t know Havelock North well. The location is amazing. I have fallen in love with the village.
“I go to the movies and do all my shopping. Everything’s rideable on my ‘old lady bike’, or an easy walk or drive.
“I’m not a social butterfly, but I have adopted three glorious friends here. We have such a lot of fun and I love hearing their laughter.
Creative and active, Annie enjoys friendships and activities within and out of the village. She likes to keep contact with her swimming buddies in Napier.
“I still swim in the ocean in Ahuriri three times a week with a group of women called the ‘Mermaids’.
“I ride my bike daily and love going down a country road, feeding the cows and picking roses. I’m in heaven.”
Annie knows her weekly outgoings have reduced now she has moved to the village, and she no longer worries about maintenance costs. “I would have needed a new roof and a repaint for the villa soon, and the rates and house insurance were always increasing.”
She looks forward to when she can travel again and see her family and grandchildren who she misses dearly. “Here you just lock the door and go. That’s a nice feeling. Everything here is just so much easier.”