Like many married people, Ann Symes (pictured right) had never thought about living on her own.

“We lived in Pooraka [12km north of Adelaide CBD] until my husband got very ill,” said Ann.

“He was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter had a massive house with a huge garage, which she turned into a granny flat. At my husband’s request, not mine!

“I didn’t want to leave my home, but he felt that I wouldn’t manage on my own. He was always very protective. So, we moved to the granny flat and a year-and-a-half later my husband passed away.

“After he died, I felt very cut off from like-minded people, so I decided to look at [retirement] villages because I felt it was the right thing for me.”

Ann and her daughter looked at many villages until they toured RetireAustralia’s Magill Retirement Village in Magill, 7km east of the State’s capital city. and finally found home.

“I saw some beautiful retirement villages, very upmarket, but very cold. Magill was the last one I came to and when I came into the unit, I said to my daughter ‘I’m buying here’ and my daughter said: ‘Are you sure? Think about it.’ And I said ‘No, I have a nice feeling’.”

Life in a retirement village

RetireAustralia say Ann is known in the village as fun, friendly, generous, and always helping to other residents and with her warm laugh that’s easy to believe.

“I try to make friends and be helpful,” Ann said. “I think most of the people who come here are happy to be friends. We check on each other, all the residents interact in some way or another. I like people, I’m a people person.”

For Ann, life in the village is the perfect arrangement. She can live on her own and on her own terms, but she still has the comfort and security of living in a caring community.

“I’m not brave enough to live on my own now, so I like the security here,” she said. “I have the best of both worlds – I live on my own, but I have the community around me so I’m not alone. I’ve got my independence, I can close the door and I’m on my own, but outside I have everyone around. We all look out for each other.”

A maintenance-free lifestyle

One of the major reasons people decide to move into a retirement village is when the continual need for maintaining their family home becomes a hassle.

“I like the help, the handyman is very helpful,” said Ann. “The staff listen to you and try to do as much as they can. We’re very fortunate to have our Village Manager Kelly Reading (pictured above with Ann), she’s wonderful.”

“I’m very happy here”

As well as taking part in the many social events in the village and playing Rummikub with friends on the weekend, cricket-mad Ann loves watching it on Foxtel.

“When we first came, my daughters and I would go to the cricket matches here at the Adelaide Oval. It was good fun! My daughters are just as mad about cricket as I am,” she said.

She said quite a lot of her friends have asked her about living in a retirement village.

“I always tell people that I’m very happy here and I encourage them to move in. ‘Why don’t you try it? Because I’m happy here.’ I tell everybody!”