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Meet Maureen and hear what she has to say

When Maureen retired ten years ago, she never pictured herself living on the grounds of the Mills Reef restaurant where she had enjoyed dining on a few occasions.

The transformation of this iconic Bay of Plenty landmark from a  winery to The Vines at Bethlehem has resulted in a spectacular location for retirees looking for connection and a touch of luxury in retirement.

For Maureen, the name and memories of good times at the venue were factors in deciding to move to The Vines.

After retiring from a career in office administration in Thames, Maureen spent a fair amount of time researching options for the next phase of life by narrowing down a selection of the vast amount of advertising and promotional materials and visited over 12 options in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region. “A relative joined me to visit The Vines and we met with Tony who I knew from work over 20 years ago.’

Maureen’s search for her next home started with her husband who sadly passed away before they got a chance to select the perfect village for them but with a supportive daughter in nearby Tauranga and the support of a son in Wellington, Maureen felt confident in the decision to move to the vines.

Settling on The Vines was influenced by ‘Location, location, location’ says Maureen. The ability to utilise The Vines van for shopping trips to nearby retailers, supermarkets and day trips meant that Maureen could sell her car and enjoy someone else doing the driving. ‘The van doesn’t leave without me in it’ says Maureen and the added benefit that ‘the van drops me right to my door with my groceries is a great advantage’.

Maureen definitely wasn’t seeking a ‘waiting room for god’ for this stage of her life, quite the opposite! She found some peoples’ perspectives on moving into the village quite interesting. ‘Some friends had quite strong ideas about moving into a village with the idea that this was a ‘rest-home’ but it is not that at all.’ With an opt-in approach to social activities such as Quiz nights, craft sessions, bowls,  petanque tournaments and book clubs, you can be as engaged in the social scene of the community as you choose, ‘I have met new people and made new friends which is lovely.’

Guests are welcomed into the community by an initiative run by the community social committee making assimilation into the community painless and pleasant “I was sent an invitation for drinks and nibbles’ says Maureen and ‘this happens on a regular basis to greet newcomers, there are usually ten new people to welcome.’

Some of Maureen’s favourite things about living in the retirement village are fundamental to modern life, ‘There is no maintenance and I don’t have to worry about the roof blowing off in the middle of the night.’ The quality build is apparent in the streetscape, with beautifully maintained villas and colourful lush gardens, the atmosphere is serene and picturesque.

The journey into retirement is very personal and unique to everyone. With a variety of options now available, this generation is spoilt for choice and Maureen has great advice for those currently in the market for community living:

Visit a lot of places well in advance of feeling the need to move and do it while you are still in control of the decision. Ask about what is included, and any costs associated with your purchase and make sure you know the dates for moving in align with your plans.’ Fortunately for Maureen, her home in Thames sold before it was listed and her villa at Vines was ready a couple of months before the scheduled date resulting in a smooth transition.

Maureen commented that ‘some people delay the move into a retirement village because of reservations about getting out of their comfort zone however you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable and welcoming environment than The Vines and with limited capacity, it may be worth arranging the visit you have been delaying today.