Even with no plans to retire, Susan is enjoying the advantages of retirement living
Friday, 20 August 2021
When Susan Hilton was looking for an over-55s community to call home, she didn’t think anywhere with ‘retirement’ in its name would suit – because she wasn’t retired. So, when a friend suggested she consider Oak Tree Retirement Village Goodna, she was very unsure. Until she had a look.
“I immediately liked the look of the place,” Susan says. “It had a really nice feel about it and wasn’t sterile like some of the other places I’d visited. But before I went too far, I had two questions for the village manager. Do I have to be retired? And can I bring my dog? When I got a ‘no’ to being retired and a ‘yes’ to the dog I was suddenly very interested.”
“I found the villa I wanted, with a large area out the back that suited my interest in gardening. It also suited my dog – a Lhasa Apso named Harry.”
“I had the freedom to make the place my own, so I put up a fence and a pergola and haven’t looked back. It was the best decision for me.”
Prior to her move to Oak Tree Goodna, Susan was living in a large home in Springfield Lakes. When she moved there 12 years ago, it was a warm and friendly community where whole-street social events were commonplace.
Over time, her friendly neighbours moved away. She was at the stage she only knew her new neighbours to wave to, but not well enough to recognise them if she saw them in the supermarket.
She was still working full-time, but she could see a time when that would change because she had big plans for travel on her mind. Selling the big home and moving to Oak Tree not only put her back into a welcoming and friendly community, the downsize gave her the money she needed for travel.
“I moved in December 2019 and booked two trips – one to visit friends in New Zealand, and the other was a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth,” Susan says. “Then COVID-19 hit, so of course the travel hasn’t happened yet.”
Despite that, Susan knows she’s living in the right place. She owns a hairdressing salon in Clayfield and works there four days a week. On Sundays, she cuts hair at one of Brisbane’s prisons. The prison job started as a fill-in for a couple of months and 18 years later she’s still there.
Her love of football – soccer to some – keeps her busy evenings and weekends. She’s been involved with the Lions Richlands club for 12 years and is a current board member. She also calls games.
But on Friday evenings she pops into the ‘Yacht Club’ at Oak Tree Goodna.
“It’s a lovely gazebo that overlooks the pool, which is how it got its name,” Susan says. “Most Friday nights we gather there with our nibbles and drinks. If there’s a birthday to celebrate, we’ll have a barbeque.”
“There’s plenty going on if you want to join in. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t. You can be as social as you want. We all respect one another’s privacy, and no one annoys anyone.”
“But having said that, we all look out for one another. It’s such a contrast to my life at Springfield Lakes. If I’d had a fall or something happened to me inside my home there, no one would have known. That would never happen here.”
“Even though I lead a busy life, I feel connected to my community and the other residents.”
“Importantly, Harry is very happy with it too. He’s never had so much attention. He’s very smart and knows which residents will give him treats and who likes to pat him, so when we’re out for a walk he knows exactly where to stop.”