Having lived five happy years in her apartment at Bruce McLaren Retirement Village, Georginne Pratt was hesitant about transferring to a serviced apartment.
This was despite the fact that her big brother Joe and his wife Ginny had moved into one themselves and were loving life.
“Ginny said ‘you should come over’ but I thought I would lose my independence I suppose,” says the vivacious George, as she prefers to be called.
“But I’d been quite sick in hospital after having these blackouts and so they said I couldn’t go back to living on my own and I would need to move over.”
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George shifted to a first floor serviced apartment with resthome level services last year after the first lockdown and describes it as ‘the best thing I have ever done’.
“There’s always someone coming in and seeing if I’m alright, and since I’ve been here I’ve had nothing like it so I feel on top of the world!
“The staff are absolutely marvellous, they reckon I’m their mother so I have got about seven daughters! They look after me like a sitting of eggs!”
The blackouts also meant George had to give up driving as well, which was a particularly tough call for someone who used to run her own driving school, was a bus driver for Howick & Eastern buses and was the daughter and sister of cartage contractors!
“I thought I’d never give my driving up but I’m pleased I have. The good thing is we have got a taxi here in the village and then there’s the van that we go out on for trips or grocery shopping, so you don’t really need a car.”
George, who has three of her own daughters, nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren, says it was her family who suggested she move into a retirement village in the first place.
“My reaction was ‘they’re for old people!” she laughs. “But then I thought, ‘oh yes, I’m not young!’”
After stopping in to have a look at the new Ryman village, which was still under construction at the time, she was made to feel welcome right from the beginning.
“The sales advisor then, Chrissy, said ‘you’re the sort of person we need here, you’re full of life!’
“They’ve treated me so well right from the word go.”
Now she’s settled into her serviced apartment, George loves venturing down to the lounge for a coffee and a natter with her fellow residents and there are plenty of other activities to choose from.
“I love my craft. At the moment I like doing these American diamond tapestries where you stick the beads on. They take about 10 days to do.
“We have Rummikub every week and bingo, and then there’s the Triple A exercises and singing from the balconies.
“And I go out on trips to as many places as I can and quite often I’ll go for a walk around the whole area, even just to the fountain and back is good exercise for me.”
George says the funny thing is, before she moved in she thought she was going to be lonely.
“I’m never on my own.
“It’s the best thing I have ever done, it really is.”