They laugh together, celebrate together and support each other in good and bad times. It’s no wonder the residents of ECH Downing Court and ECH Kimberly Court think of their neighbours as a second family.
It all started when Ron suggested the group should get together for casual drinks one night a week. Initially it was just two or three people going along. Now it has snowballed into regular drinks, nibbles, sausage sizzles, soups in winter, homemade cakes, a Christmas feast for 27 people and even day trips and holidays!
“When I was still working I used to have drinks with my colleagues once a week,” explains Ron. “So I just said to a few of the people in my village why don’t we do that here, and that’s how it started.”
At the same time, ECH installed a pergola in Downing Court, giving the group a perfect meeting place. Jean and Jeff have lived in Downing Court for seven years and are now regulars at the drinks and social events.
“We have a drink of whatever we want, put the world to rights, solve everybody’s problems and share pictures of the great grandchildren,” laughs Jean. “It’s just wonderful. They are a really nice crowd. Any of them would do anything for anyone.”
When Jean and Jeff celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary their neighbours decided to throw them a big party.
“I had decided we weren’t really going to celebrate it,” said Jean. “But then they organised this lovely party with the most beautiful cake, it really was special.”
For Claire, the group makes a big difference to her life. “It’s just wonderful,” she says. “We just laugh and laugh and laugh and we know we are not alone, like there is always somebody there to help.”
One week someone donated some pumpkins from the garden and the group made pumpkin soup for everyone. Then they branched out from drinks into sausage sizzles, roast dinners and cakes for celebrations.
Ron said: “One time we got together to celebrate a few birthdays and realised that we had 378 years between us, so instead of individual cakes we just made one big cake with 378 on it. We thought that was pretty funny.”
“We have lots of wonderful cooks in the group,” adds Claire. “Ron is a great cook and Jackie and Glenys make the most marvellous cakes. We always laugh and say we are not here for a long time, we are here for a good time.”
The residents have also organised day trips using the ECH bus and have been to Virginia Nursery and the dolphin cruise in Port Adelaide. Another group even went on holiday together!
“We are like a family,” says Ron. “If anyone needs help, we help them. We are all individuals but we’re also a supportive group and we care about each other. We are a joyful bunch, it’s just fabulous, I’d never move now.”
To find out more about the various ECH Independent Retirement Living options, visit ech.asn.au or call 1300 275 324.