Murray and Joan Wason love living at Charles Upham Retirement Village, knowing they’re not too far from the Canterbury plains farm that kept their family close and happy.
That closeness remains at Charles Upham.
Murray is in a serviced apartment, and Joan is in hospital care. Being within the same building they are able to enjoy each other’s company every day, one of the many benefits of a Ryman village, having the levels of care within the same village.
Their daughters live in Waddington and Christchurch, while son Dene now runs the family farm, located near Sheffield. They take delight in coming to Charles Upham, where they can all gather in Murray’s serviced apartment, at the village café or social spaces, for time together.
The village, located just on the outskirts of Rangiora, features architecturally-designed independent townhouses and apartments, serviced apartments, resthome, hospital and dementia care. The village is rural, peaceful, and set amongst beautifully landscaped gardens.
From his windows Murray looks out to the Canterbury hills, including Mt Thomas, and chose his apartment because it was the sunniest one available at the time. It also looks out to where he grew up and farmed. He went to a small school in Russell’s Flat, near the Malvern hills and Springfield.
He and Joan got married, while in their early 20s, in the Springfield hall and they took over the family property.
They started farming dairy cows, then Murray decided to change to sheep farming. Over time he increased the size of the farm from 81 acres to 550 acres.
Murray says he and the family worked very hard on the farm clearing gorse and broom. They thrived, and the children grew.
They moved to Charles Upham Retirement Village 18 months ago and have come to love their new community, and village life. The choice to come to a Ryman village was a wise one. The couple, married for nearly 65 years, spend as much time together as possible. One Murray’s old mates is in the village too.
When he’s not tending to the family, Murray says he likes to be involved in village life, keeping in touch with the friends he has made and attending functions, such as the regular happy hours held for the residents.
He spent some of those formative years playing in a dance hall band. He still has his prize piano in the apartment. “Sometimes we have a few beers down in the main building ... I do sit down and play the village piano to the folks reasonably regularly.”
The midday and evening meals are included in a fixed base weekly fee* for serviced apartment residents, along with housekeeping and fresh linen delivered.
“At lunch we all sit together, and that’s when we do most of our talking and it’s quite a big group,” Murray says.
*Some conditions apply