Home Community Retirees grow fruit, veggies and community spirit

Retirees grow fruit, veggies and community spirit

Carlyle Gardens
Carlyle Gardens resident Loretto Croake admires the selection of Mother's Day flowers.

Local retirees aren’t letting COVID-19 get in the way of their strong community spirit.

Despite over 70s being hit particularly hard by social restrictions and strong advice not to leave their homes, residents at Carlyle Gardens Retirement Village in Bargara are using a little imagination to have fun and stay connected while maintaining social distancing.

Between a community garden, the delivery of food parcels and a resident-led news service, concerns about residents being isolated and cut off from loved ones during this period of social distancing have been put to rest.

Residents have also been passing the time by planning regular dress-up days, and ensuring all mums in the village received a bouquet of hand-picked flowers on Mother’s Day.

Acting Village Manager Belinda Hensler says despite unprecedented challenges facing the community, the residents’ resilience and support for each other has been remarkable.

“The unique challenges presented by the pandemic have also been the inspiration for some innovative solutions, with a range of fun and heart-warming rituals established in our community during lockdown,” Mrs Hensler said.

“We have a community garden that residents look after, but with COVID-19, we can’t sell produce to fund its upkeep.

“That prompted us to open up the garden to all residents. We encourage them to come and pick their own vegies for free – it’s a small silver lining in the midst of a pandemic.”

Carlyle Gardens’ community spirit has only strengthened during the crisis, with both residents and neighbours from further afield banding together to support each other.

“One of our residents has started to produce a regular COVID-19 newsletter, Half Way Hello, to entertain the community during lockdown and keep everyone’s spirits high,” Mrs Hensler said.

“We’ve also received great support from the broader community. Locally United Volunteers recently donated food parcels for residents who don’t feel safe leaving their own homes to shop.

“There has been an overwhelming desire from our residents to help out others in the village and to just put a smile on each other’s faces.

“People have wanted to stay connected, look after their neighbours and ensure the village is still a fun place to be.”

RetireAustralia villages including Carlyle Gardens Retirement Village have been doing their bit to make the lockdown easier for residents, performing regular wellbeing checks, providing assistance to access essential items such as groceries and medications and organising fun social activities which can be carried out at a safe distance.

RetireAustralia Chief Executive Officer Dr Brett Robinson acknowledges the importance of prioritising residents’ mental health just as much as their physical wellbeing.

“We know older Australians are vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness, and this can have a detrimental effect on their physical health, leading to sleep disruption, increased cortisol levels and elevated blood pressure,’’ Dr Robinson said.

“Particularly during this period of social distancing, we would ask everyone in the broader community to keep an eye out for their older neighbours, who might be isolated and lonely.

“Now’s the time to reach out to them, either with a call, a note, or chat over the fence. Our community is strongest when we work together and support each other.”

Carlyle Gardens Retirement Village offers over 300 independent living units and is Bargara’s most well-known and trusted retirement community.

It offers convenience, security and support in a beautiful location, just a short walk from the stunning beaches of Bargara and 15 minutes from Bundaberg.

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