New Zealand has many retirement villages and their number is growing rapidly. No surprise there, because the older population is also increasing. Some are excellent. Some are OK. Some are worrying. And some are unique. One such is Parkwood Retirement Village in Waikanae.
Point of difference: this retirement village is run by an independent not-for-profit trust. No shareholders. All differences and special benefits are made possible by this fact. I visit Parkwood quite often and it takes my breath away every time. It’s not that I want to move there — and if I did, there’s a 4–7 year waiting list. And it’s not that anyone’s paying me to sing its praises. Which I will do with a few photos. Facts, history, facilities? Find them on the Parkwood website.
Parkwood is a good name, for it has both tailored parks and wild woods.
Every home in this independent retirement village is different
Houses were built in batches over a long period of time. Now, after many years and multiple owners, each home has a special personality.
The huge property contains native forest and wetlands
This aspect of Parkwood retirement village appeals to me enormously. Though much of the land was drained to enable building, enough native forest and wetlands were retained for some beautiful walks.
Even this splendid retirement village lacks children
Despite an explosive increase in retirement villages, only a minority of old people in New Zealand live in one. A retirement village next door to a school or kindergarten or university or sports field might appeal to me. Because for me, there’s one big and necessary thing missing: the sound of children and other young people. That’s seen as an advantage by many seniors. No squealing, yelling, singing or drumming. No big rowdy families moving in next door. But young people bring life, challenges, joy, and a rush of adrenaline.
Other countries have some fantastic models for integrating old and young generations. But do they exist in New Zealand? If you know, do tell!