Staying together is the most important thing for Fleur Lindsay and her husband Pete.
Since moving into Ryman Healthcare’s William Sanders Retirement Village in May 2019, the pair, now in their 90s, have been able to do just that, despite having different health needs.
When the village care centre opened up in November last year, Pete moved into the resthome and Fleur transferred to a serviced apartment.
While it meant giving up their apartment in the Duder block, the couple, who have been married for over 60 years, could still enjoy all their waking hours together in the same place.
“I come down and we have our meals together and we sit in the lounge, and watch a bit of tv in Pete’s room,” says Fleur.
“Abby the Activities Coordinator will run outings or activities for us to keep us moving. I’ve got a Boney M cd for her to put on next time.
“I like reading or sometimes we just look out the window. The views from the lounge are wonderful and it only takes a bird to fly by and we have got something else to look at!”
It was the couple’s daughter Joy who first planted the seed of living in a retirement village several years ago.
“She said we should try and find somewhere like this but at the time there was nothing like this in Devonport, so we left it.
“Then one day we were driving home to Stanley Bay from Takapuna with my son and I said we should pop into the sales office and find out what this business with William Sanders was all about.
“It was on the spur of the moment, right at the very beginning before anything had opened. We came in and saw the sales advisors, Janet and Mark, and made enquiries and it really just evolved from there.”
The Lindsays were amongst the first residents to move into the village who became a tight-knit group during the lockdowns.
“A big positive which we really noticed during that time is having that constant company, you don’t have to go anywhere for company,” says Fleur. “And now I have a very nice apartment up on the fifth floor so I’m spoiled in that respect.”
They both enjoy the food, especially Pete. “He’s got a very good appetite. I have to tell him to leave the flowers on the plate!” she laughs.
But it’s the staff who really make living in the village an outstanding experience.
“The staff are just something else. I know the Village Manager Murray Bain sets great store by the character of the staff he employs and he does a good job. We couldn’t ask for them to be any nicer than they are.
“They all call us by our name and we even have a bit of sign language from the kitchen to the table if you want a banana or something. It’s a lovely atmosphere, they’re really nice.”
Both Fleur and Pete come from medical backgrounds. Fleur was training to be a nurse when she met Pete, then a new registrar on the casualty ward at Auckland Hospital.
“He was looking all lost and didn’t know where the syringes were stored. So our romance began in casualty!”
Meanwhile, Fleur was saving hard for her big OE, due to start once she’d finished her nursing training.
“I went over to Britain but I only got as far as Marseilles when I cut it short because Peter wrote asking me if I’d marry him. So I came back and we got married, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Parnell.”
Pete’s work as a doctor in public health took them all around New Zealand and led to an 18 year stint in Hong Kong.
The couple raised four children and with two sons in Devonport it seemed like a good place to settle down.
And now it’s turned out to be the best place to retire to as well.