When retirees Konrad and Margot Lojek hit the road in their caravan they can leave knowing their home will be looked after while they’re travelling.
The couple has lived in Townsville’s Carlyle Gardens retirement village for the last three years and spent about half their time travelling until the disruption of last year.
Margot Lojek, 62, says the peace of mind knowing their house and gardens are being watched and maintained in their absence is invaluable.
“Knowing that you can just lock up and walk away, it’s wonderful,” she says.
“We’ve got wonderful neighbours, and gardeners and landscapers who look after the gardens here for us.”
“Carlyle Gardens Townsville also has an active Neighbourhood Watch Group within the complex which gives us confidence that our property is safe while we are away.”
The Australians selling for a secure future
Safety and security at home is cited as a key drawcard for many of the 188,000 people living in more than 2,200 retirement villages around Australia.
Research from social analysts McCrindle found the three top reasons people chose to live in a secure village were a safe environment and emergency support, onsite maintenance, and independence.
With many Australian families spread far and wide across the country, having the option to travel to spend time with grandkids, without worrying about the security of your home is a key motivator for many people to move.
With the family including a nine-month-old and six-year-old grandchildren living further south, they are itching to hit the road.
“As soon as we can we’ll be off again,” Margot says.
‘Now we just enjoy the pool, not look after it’
The Lojeks retired six years ago and they are making the most of it.
Former police radio and electronics technician Konrad and retired data entry worker Margot had plenty to do. They stayed active, saw their friends and started to travel a lot.
“Our family had grown up and moved away, we had nobody living with us anymore,” Margot says.
“We bought a caravan because we love to travel.”
But because they were going away for longer periods, they had to figure out what to do with their Cairns home.
“We had our own home with a nice swimming pool and garden,” she says.
“Every time we would go away, there was all that to organise, getting someone to look after the house and the pool.
“A couple of times we got some house-sitters in. It turned out well both times, but it is a lot of trust to place in someone else, living in your home.”
They were caravanning in the Nullarbor Plains and got talking to another couple, who told them about Townsville’s Carlyle Gardens.
The village is its own community. With 458 homes – mainly two and three-bedroom houses with six four-bedroom villas – it is surrounded by gardens and services. Each has its own single or double garage.
So Konrad and Margot decided to visit on their way home from travelling.
“When we saw Carlyle Gardens, we said, ‘Yes, that’s the place for us’,” Konrad, 66, says.
“Next thing you know, we’re back down signing up to move in.”
It’s convenient for health services, a major shopping centre and the Riverway arts and recreation precinct.
They still have the big house with a pool available within the complex, it’s just that they don’t have to look after it now.
“We don’t have to worry about it,” Margot says. “Now we just go up and enjoy it.”
A busy social life
While they are itching to get back to travelling and see their families, the Lojeks maintain very energetic and active lives at Carlyle Gardens.
Konrad is one of a group of volunteers that drive the bus that takes residents to the shopping centre twice weekly. He attends the men’s workshop, plays lawn bowls, table tennis and goes to the onsite gym and theatre.
Margot is also busy doing yoga, lawn bowling, exercising and playing mah-jong.
“Everybody in the village is here to enjoy themselves,” Margot says.
“When we were in Cairns we had friends and would go out. You might go out two or three times a week to different activities, whereas here in the village it will be two or three times a day that you’re going out.”
The McCrindle research found almost seven out of 10 retirement village residents said their security and confidence increased after moving from their family home into the village.
Two out of three were visited regularly by family and friends, and half the respondents said their social life had improved.
Most people (73 per cent) took part in village social activities, like the ones available at Carlyle Gardens. There are social clubs, activity clubs and even a travel club.
During the day, the Lojeks make use of the facilities available, and at night, regularly visit the licensed onsite restaurant.
Feeling safe within the grounds, they walk to and from their home, day and night.
“At night it is just so peaceful, it’s lovely,” Konrad says, noting the strong sense of community within their village.
“It’s mandatory that when you’re riding or walking, within the village you must wave.”
If you’re ready to make the move, Carlyle Gardens in Townsville offers a resort lifestyle, and a community of like-minded people. Find out more about our village.