The Village Roses

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

Hans Christian Anderson

If the Covid Pandemic has taught us anything, it is that happiness, mental wellbeing and quality of life is not found in wealth, social status or even in the office, but in deep connection with family, friends and our natural environment. Simple though these things may sound, they are priceless in terms of the quality of our lives. They are especially important for our ageing populations.

Sooner or later we will all be part of the ageing generation and while we may look forward to retirement we probably don’t give too much thought to it until either we or our parents are in that position. I am currently staying with my parents who live in a Retirement Village in Adelaide. There are just over 280 independent units in the village as well as an onsite nursing home and I must say that I have been quite impressed by the garden areas located throughout the complex. The roses are especially beautiful.

There are about 600 roses throughout the village and right now they are out in full bloom. Mum says they all love the roses and are very appreciative of all the work the gardener does but they also say: “Thank goodness we don’t have to prune all the roses!” It’s quite lovely to go out every afternoon for a walk and see all the roses flowering as well as all the other beautiful trees, shrubs and natives that make up the private and public garden areas. Here are just a few of the roses…

Living in Toowoomba, the Garden City, we are quite spoilt for parks and gardens and we love getting out in our own garden. The benefits of getting out in nature is something that we are all coming to appreciate and there is an increasing amount of research that demonstrates the positive impact that nature has on our physical, mental and emotional health. One of the greatest challenges during the pandemic has been the impact of loneliness and social isolation on people’s mental health, but loneliness and isolation have long been a key concern for many of our elderly, especially as their mobility decreases. It isn’t always so easy for the elderly to travel to parks and nature reserves, so we need to bring nature to them by planning and creating easily accessible outdoor environments.

I really appreciate the care that has been taken in the planning of the Retirement Village here. There are pockets of gardens and walking paths everywhere. Whenever we go out for our daily walk, we see an abundance of birdlife, including some almost kamikaze green parrots that take to the air whenever someone walks by. An accessible outdoor environment also provides numerous opportunities for social interactions with other residents out for a stroll or a zoom on their gopher. And for those whose mobility is quite poor, there is still much nature and activity to be seen from the comfort of the front window.

Care for our ageing generations has attracted a lot of attention recently and sadly for all the wrong reasons. Quality of life is something we should value for all Australians regardless of age, background or economic status. As we grapple with the impact of climate change and endeavour to create sustainable communities, we need to ensure that nobody gets left behind when it comes to planning for physical, mental and social wellbeing. A pleasant living environment and close proximity to nature should be accessible to all, but especially our older generations.

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4 thoughts on “The Village Roses

  1. Watching our parents age has made me think about this very issue, being cut off from the natural world would be pretty unbearable. Grateful that at least in Toowoomba we have such great parks but access is still an issue.

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    • I agree Sharon, so often we don’t think about things until we are personally affected. How many elderly people are shut up in nursing homes and never get out? Yesterday I saw this great sight here in the Retirement Village – they have these trishaws, that they use to enable residents in the nursing home to be able to get out and visit friends/family in the units or attend functions. Apparently they came from one of the Scandinavian countries – figures! The residents sit in front and the worker cycles from behind. Only thing is they weren’t sheltered from the sun, but I thought it was so cool. True, we do have many parks & gardens in Toowoomba – Adelaide is very much like Toowoomba in that way, lots of parklands.

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  2. Beautiful photos! Roses, along with anything else blooming in a garden, are also very calming, especially for our older folk. 70 or 80 years ago ( after the war years) many families depended on their gardens to supplement their food source with fresh fruit and veges. Many retirement villages and aged care facilities are now planting shrubs with strong fragrances, such as citrus trees, to take residents back to their earlier days.

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    • Thanks, and so true about the fruit trees. There are fruit trees planted here too, and the residents are free to pick and use the fruit. Although there seems to be a little bit of the Red Hen story going on here – a handful of residents take the time to fertilise the trees and protect them from frosts, but everybody wants the fruit! I think there is also a community veggie patch as well, for the really keen gardeners. Many of the residents here were originally from the country areas of SA, from good old farming stock.

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