For Tony and Irienne Ameye, settling into Ryman Healthcare’s Anthony Wilding Retirement Village was an easy decision.
“It made me happy, to know that if anything were to happen to one of us, the other has a place where they are safe and has social contact,” says Tony, aged 74.
“I was conscious that we were living on our own, and it could be quite isolating, while here if you take a walk it takes you a lot longer than you anticipated because there are so many people to greet and talk to,” adds Irienne, 72.
“It’s the peace of mind, really. It’s having the stress and worry of being responsible for a house taken away.”
The couple moved into their townhouse at the village in 2015.
“We used to tell our friends we’ve moved house,” says Tony “but it just happens to be in a retirement village!”
“It’s our home, as simple as that,” says Irienne.
Tony, originally from England, moved to New Zealand with his family when he was seven years old.
His family eventually settled in Nelson where Irienne’s family came from. They met at a local dance when Tony came home from Canterbury University, where he studied Physics and Maths.
“In our days you met at a local dance,” says Irienne, “while nowadays you meet on the internet!”
Irienne, a trained nurse, moved with Tony to Tokoroa when he was offered a job.
“It was in the middle of nowhere, and we used to travel to Taupo, to go for a hot swim,” says Irienne.
“We also travelled to Tauranga because I was homesick for the sea,” she adds.
Eventually they moved to Auckland where their oldest daughter was born, then a move down to Wellington, where their second daughter was born. Finally, after a couple of years, they settled back in Nelson with their growing family.
“My parents and Irienne’s family were there, so it made sense,” says Tony.
They eventually bought a lifestyle block, and Irienne managed the farm.
“It was a real Old MacDonald’s farm,” laughs Tony.
After many years in Nelson and retirement, the couple decided to move to Christchurch to be near their daughter and grandchildren.
“We quite like Christchurch and moved to a four-bedroom house in Halswell before the earthquakes,” says Tony.
“Luckily we scraped through with very little damage,” adds Irienne.
After a few years, the couple began looking at retirement options “half-heartedly”.
“So, we got to the stage where climbing ladders was becoming a bit of a problem,” says Tony.
“With me at the bottom of the ladder!” adds a laughing Irienne.
“We decided to downsize, and really the choice is to buy a smaller townhouse out in the real world or go into a retirement village,” says Tony.
“It’s in your mind a bit, I guess. Then somebody to told us about Ryman,” says Irienne.
Tony and Irienne belonged to a walking group and was introduced to Anthony Wilding when there was a morning tea held in the village centre.
The location was perfect for the couple, as their daughter’s family is settled nearby.
“We couldn’t be bothered moving again.”
Anthony Wilding village is located in Aidanfield, Halswell, and boasts fantastic views of the Port Hills.
The village offers independent townhouses, assisted living in a serviced apartment, resthome, hospital and dementia care. The village includes an all-weather bowling green, indoor heated swimming pool, spa, internal atrium, library, gym, hair and beauty salon, bar and shop.
Sales Advisor, Susie Alayne, says the village has beautiful gardens, a strong sense of community and the setting is unique.
“We have all the benefits of a big village but we’re small enough that everyone still knows everyone else,” says Susie.
Susie says that the benefit of a townhouse is that it offers complete independence but with the bonus of having a safety net for times when you might need some help.
And that is what really clinched it for Tony and Irienne. “The fixed fees definitely, and the peace of mind,” says Irienne.
For now, the couple is still enjoying being out and about. “We’re still very active outside of the village,” Tony says.
They are part of a biking group and like to go tramping so the townhouse living is perfect for them as they can just shut the front door and head out without worrying about the house.
“We also love the friendships we’ve made here, the Happy Hours, the staff, it’s such a friendly village,” says Irienne.
“It’s got everything we like. It’s the people in the village who make this home.”
And the best part of living at Anthony Wilding?“Not having to clean our own windows,” laughs Irienne.