For Anne, hearing the news that the country was moving into lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 was an angst-ridden time.The former King’s College school nurse had only recently swapped her independent
apartment for a serviced apartment at Bruce McLaren Retirement Village which meant she could enjoy a cooked meal in the dining room with fellow residents plus the perks of regular linen and towel changes.
While the services remained, meals were now brought to her room and all the usual activities she was involved in had to be put on hold.
“It was scary,” she admits. “I worried about my great grandchildren particularly and what sort of world they were being born into.”
While the speed that things were changing was overwhelming at times, Anne says she was glad that Ryman Healthcare was taking steps to keep everyone safe.
Ryman, which operates 34 villages in New Zealand, started screening visitors who had travelled overseas from late January.
Security was put on the gate and from March 16, all visits to the village were stopped apart from those deemed essential.
“I had seen some of the stories and I think Ryman were right to be on it. They were fantastic really. I wouldn’t have needed anything.”
Anne’s daughter in law did some shopping for her which could be dropped at the gate and then delivered to her door by staff.
Any further meals she needed were also provided along with a few extra goodies.
All residents received a one-off giftbox of pantry staples, a weekly delivery of bread, milk and biscuits, a weekly Happy Hour in a bag and the chance to do twice weekly Bidfood grocery orders for those who didn’t have family on hand to help with shopping.
That totalled an impressive 9,000 Bidfood orders and 56,000 Happy Hour bags supplied to 8,000 residents over seven weeks!
“I actually had to stop telling my friends who live in other places because they were starting to get a bit envious!” laughs Anne, who has lived at the village for five years.
Being one of eight siblings and having raised five children, the lockdown experience really underlined for Anne what a social creature she is.
“I do love living by myself but I love having access to other people and not being] able to go out did affect me.
“I used WhatsApp to talk to my family a few times which was good. And the staff were simply amazing. Life would have been so much worse without their endless patience and cheerful kindness.”
Anne, 87, is also used to being very sporty and active – she loves playing tennis and croquet, swimming, joining Ryman’s in-house Triple A exercise programme, and she has just taken up indoor bowls.
“I did a lot of walking instead!” she laughs. “I walked around the garden and then back the other way, I think I worked out about three or four different paths and everyone was very good at getting out of people’s way.
“The nice thing was there were people I wouldn’t have met that I wouldn’t have spoken to otherwise. People stopped and talked. And because the weather was so great I would often do several walks a day.
“If I got a bit bored, and I didn’t feel like reading or doing any more puzzles I would just go for another walk!” she says.
With some of the restrictions now lifted, Anne is tentatively exploring the new normal, including a refreshing dip in the village pool. Her first trip back to the supermarket was quite a strange experience though.
“I just walked right in and then I realised there was a queue! I came back and apologised but they let me go in anyway,” she laughs.
Sales advisor Rose says now is a good time to come in and view the available serviced apartments.