When Brian Colgate decided to make the move to a retirement village at age 80, he begun hunting out a book that could help him navigate the change.
“The various retirement villages had open days and I was given the folder with their literature and information, and there is plenty of information on the internet, but it seemed to me there was a yawning gap for a hard copy document that members of the family could sit down and read too,” he says.
So, Brian, who previously worked in staff training and management roles in central government and was an elected member of the Kapiti Coast District Council, set to work pulling together the information he discovered while making his own journey from his family home in Paraparaumu to Coastal Villas on the Kāpiti Coast. He also interviewed those living in retirement villages in the Wellington region and further afield to get their thoughts on why they had made the move and how they felt about it.
What resulted from his months of work was Retirement Villages, Residents’ Verdict, which Brian self-published in 2020. It covers things like choosing a village and accommodation type, the village fee, selling your own home and the things you need to think about when moving. It also explains the purchase of a right to occupy and looks at the process of settling into a village.
“At pains” to avoid conveying his own views on retirement villages in the book, he has leaned heavily on research and interviews, sending out 200 questionnaires to residents in villages around New Zealand and 80 to non-residents. The most oft-cited reasons for making the move to a retirement village were to reduce the home maintenance burden, security concerns, health and for companionship.
Brian’s own move was prompted by his daughter who reminded him that you never know what’s around the corner.
“We all know there’s something liable to happen around the corner,” he says. His family were chiefly concerned about his welfare and that moving into a village not “jeopardise my thirst for travel,” he says.
“As I see it, the book is as much for the families that have a concern about their aging parents as for the individual.”