Neighbourly founder walks the talk with retreat-style design
CHIOU-SEE Anderson is 40 years younger than the oldest resident at Elements Retirement Living at Springwood and definitely not retired, but she has found her community.
Rather than live in her Gold Coast apartment, Chiou-See, who created Elements Retirement Living 10 years ago, chooses to live at the village, which she describes as more like a retreat than an old people's home.
With regular Friday evening drinks, overseas group holidays and dinner parties on the social agenda, and an award-winning Zen garden, workshed, spa, pool and community centre to enjoy, it's easy to see the attraction.
"I have always understood that community living is important to social and psychological wellbeing," Chiou-See said.
"Before moving to Elements, I was living in an apartment at South Bank with fabulous neighbours and onsite managers.
"In reality, living at Elements is very similar to living at South Bank except that one is vertical community living (SB) and the other is horizontal community living.
"Our homes at Elements are designed for real people. Over the past 10 years, I have been designing the homes as if they were for my own enjoyment.''
According to Chiou-See, villages that include managers who are more like concierges are what prospective residents should expect in the new wave of retirement communities.
"In future, village managers will become more like concierges co-ordinating services, and there will be dedicated staff that will be responsible for physical, social and entertainment activities," she said.
The most surprising thing about retirement living, Chiou-See said, was the amount of privacy and the bonds she had formed with her neighbours.
"Even though there are 123 homes here at Elements, the village is tranquil and peaceful,'' she said.
"I wake up each morning to the chirping of the birds, which I don't get at South Bank, and virtually run into the same residents every morning and evening.''