Choosing the retirement that’s best for you

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RETIREMENT means different things to different people. For some it’s about hitting the road (or sky) and seeing the world, for others it’s about finding the right community or location to enjoy the coming years and for some it’s about managing the niggles and pain that often come with age. But no matter what it is, “CityNews” speaks with experts who aim to help retirees make the most of their new-found freedom after decades of hard work! 

Village with the perfect climate for retirees

MACLEAY Valley Village’s new luxurious retirement facility on NSW’s  Mid-North Coast will soon offer retirees the perfect climate, stunning views and a great community, says the special projects manager of Thomson Health Care, Sarah Rodgers.

Set on 10ha of picturesque land with river frontage in Frederickton, Macleay Valley Village provides a peaceful rural lifestyle, says Sarah.

“In late spring, stage one will see the opening of 56 villas and a country club in the heart of the village,” says Sarah.
The country club will be fitted with an entertainment quarter, an outdoor pool, exercise room, craft room and other amenities, which, Sarah says, will give residents everything they need to do the things they love. 

“Each villa features two bedrooms as well as a flexi room that can be used as a study or hobby room – whatever you wish,” she says. 

“The luxury open plan kitchen, lounge and dining rooms have easy access to an outdoor entertaining space.

“Every villa has stunning views of the rolling countryside.”

With the adjacent nursing home, Macleay Valley House Aged Care, residents will know that aged care support is nearby should they need to transition.  

Macleay Valley Village, 100 Macleay Street, Frederickton. Visit or call Steve from sales on 0414 863 666    

Mike’s lifts keep seniors home longer

AS people grow older, maintaining independence becomes extremely important, says the owner of Personal Home Lifts, Mike Bresnik. 

“A home lift provides the ability for Canberrans to remain in their houses and compared to the costs of downsizing it is a cost effective option,” he says. 

“Real estate agents have told me that, on average, the cost of moving…  is $72,000. 

“A personal home lift costs between $35,000 and $40,000 (plus building and electrical work) so it really is an affordable option.” 

Mike says domestic lifts are gaining popularity as people choose to stay in their home, alongside trusted neighbours and life-long friends, but are no longer able to climb their stairs safely. 

“It’s another way to get their independence back and gives their family peace of mind,” he says.

A display lift has been installed at Fyshwick Home & Heating and Mike encourages people to come and see the lift in action. 

“There are two lift sizes to choose from, and the larger one is suitable to fit a standard wheelchair and a carer inside,” he says.  

Personal Home Lifts. Call 6147 5566 or visit the display lift at Fyshwick Home & Heating, 88 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick  

Michelle loves getting retirees travelling

TRAVELLING in retirement is growing in popularity and Jamison Travel has helped many retirees plan their perfect trip, says owner Michelle Everson. 

Whether it’s a luxury cruise, a short guided tour or an active adventure holiday, Michelle says Jamison Travel can design trips to suit all budgets and needs. 

One option, which Michell says is ideal for retirees, is the guided mid-week trip in which people can enjoy an overnight getaway to a show or concert in Sydney, with all transport, meals and entertainment included. 

The next such trip is to see the Edinburgh Tattoo in Sydney, in October, and Michelle says is it’s a great way to meet new people, especially for solo travellers.

Another trip, to the Hunter wine region, is planned for next year. 

Jamison Travel holds a solo travellers expo at the Albert Hall in September each year. 

“We also hold information and film sessions about different travel destinations instore that features drinks, nibbles and interesting presentations to inspire travellers,” says Michelle.

“Cruising remains a popular and affordable option for retirees – with European river cruising never going out of style, as well as tours of New Zealand.” 

Jamison Travel, Shop 5, 39 Bowman Street, Macquarie. Email, call 6251 5166 or visit     

Kerry Lloyd with sons Kyle, left, Matthew and Mitchell.

Caravan care starts here

LLOYD’s Caravans owner Kerry Lloyd and his three sons love to hear where their clients venture.

Whatever age, customers are encouraged to come to Lloyd’s for a service and safety check – or other requirements such as accessories or insurance repairs – before their next adventure. 

Lloyd’s Caravans has operated in Canberra since the ’60s and 

Kerry says he’s glad to carry on his father’s legacy as well as work with his three sons – Mitchell who’s an auto electrician, Matthew, a panel beater, and Kyle, a carpenter.

Lloyd’s Caravans provide services such as caravan insurance repairs, modifications and servicing and can also work on trailers, camper vans, horse floats and motor homes.  

“We’re all trained in the caravan industry trade and we are the preferred repairers for all major insurance companies,” Kerry says.

“Caravans and motorhomes are evolving all the time and we’re evolving with them.”

Lloyd’s Caravans, Unit 1-57 Tennant Street, Fyshwick. Call  0438 800652, email

Garden villas to call home 

ADRIA Village provides a home-like environment and high-quality aged care for up to 42 residents, as well as 36 independent-living villas in a landscaped environment with mature trees and gardens. 

Adria Village general manager Iva Vujica says the villas are all two-bedroom and residents enjoy a shared community room for activities and social events.

“There are weekly outings organised using our private bus and we have a nurse on site, available around the clock should residents need medical attention,” Iva says. 

As well as organised social programs, the village provides multilingual staff, regular mass, an on-site chapel, a psychologist, podiatrist, chemist, hairdresser and pharmacist.

“Adria Village is located 500 metres from Cooleman Court and bus services connect it to Woden, Civic, Belconnen and Tuggeranong town centres,” says Iva. 

“It’s close to everything!”

 Adria Village, 89 Fremantle Drive, Stirling. Call 6288 0198, email or visit

Social groups support ageing Canberrans

LIFE can change when people retire, which is why it’s important for seniors to be supported through exercise and social groups, says Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey. 

“Life does change when you retire,” she says.

“Some social connections you had with people at work may be lost so we recommend people lead into retirement with a plan that includes what activities, clubs or support networks you’d like to get involved with.”  

According to Rebecca, it’s also a time for seniors to focus on themselves while finding new ways to maintain health.

“It is so important to keep exercising and building exercise into your daily routines such as meeting friends for hydrotherapy or a walk – anything that can keep you moving,” she says. 

Arthritis ACT runs support groups, exercise programs and social activities such as movie groups to help people dealing with arthritis pain to chat to others going through the same experience.  

“Sometimes it helps being able to have a whinge with others about your arthritis, who are also going through it,” says Rebecca.  

“Our range of exercise programs include 30 sessions of hydrotherapy each week, yoga, tai chi, strength and balance classes and aqua aerobics.”

Arthritis ACT also has occupational therapists, dietitians and counsellors available for extra support.   

Arthritis ACT, Building 18, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 1800 011041, email or visit

Founder Melissa Freasier, centre, with the Downsizing with Care team.

Caring team helps clients downsize

FOR retirees ready to shift to a smaller home, Downsizing with Care’s experienced specialists have the skills to support and inform them through the entire move. 

Founder Melissa Freasier says Downsizing with Care prides itself on understanding and working with clients to help them get the results they want. 

As a certified organising specialist, Melissa experienced first-hand what downsizing is like when she moved her family from a large four-bedroom home to a two-bedroom unit.   

“We can help in many ways, from providing help [around] the sequencing of a move, [helping] make sense of what to do first and providing tips and tricks to sell excess items,” she says.

“We can also pack and unpack and have been trained in packing techniques for fragile objects.”

Melissa says her all-female team are aged in their 40s and 50s and have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

“They understand the importance and value of specialty objects and are very understanding and sensitive to the emotional side of downsizing,” she says. 

“[And] we are all passionate about what we do.” 

Downsizing with Care can tailor support and services to the client’s needs and runs regular seminars to offer tips and techniques on the downsizing process. 

The next seminar will be held at Hughes Community Centre, September 4, at 11am. To book, call Charlene on 0408 534229.   

Downsizing with Care. Call 6134 5200, email or visit 

ACT Better Hearing Australia chairman Bill Leane.

Families fall deaf to hearing-loss talks

THERE are four parties to every hearing-loss discussion or decision and of these four, the weakest link is family, says the ACT branch chairman of Better Hearing Australia, Bill Leane.

“Throughout history, the family has been the main source of knowledge, but somehow over time the family has been squeezed out,” he says. 

“We think the time has come to bring the family back into the equation.” 

Now, Better Hearing Australia seeks to work with families of people who live with hearing loss by introducing them to items that can help. 

“We have developed a gift pack that could be given to an older family member by their children in a loving situation,” Bill says. 

By gently introducing the gift pack to relatives with hearing loss, Bill believes they will be more responsive to using items such as a safety vest, which highlights their hearing loss. 

“People who have been wearing the safety vests tell us that they have been treated with respect and feel empowered,” he says.

“For instance, people with hearing problems who enjoy walking can’t hear when cyclists are coming along from behind. 

“When they wear the vest, the cyclists behave differently, give the person more space and it’s a lot safer.”

The pack also includes a sports T-shirt to keep people active, confident and competitive, as well as a booklet about managing hearing loss within a household. 

Better Hearing Australia, COTA Building, 2 Wisdom Street, Hughes. Call 6281 3962, email or visit 

Life Without Barriers ACT director Ric Cabrita.

New skills empower seniors

LIFE Without Barriers, one of the largest, most trusted providers of aged care support in the ACT, is empowering retirees through its training sessions, says operations manager Ric Cabrita.

This year, Life Without Barriers has created a number of groups and training sessions such as one on computer skills, which covers internet banking, email and social media accounts – to keep in touch with family members.

“We have a strong focus on maintaining independence at whatever stage,” Ric says.

“Doesn’t matter what stage you are at, it’s never too early to start engaging with new skills, to become more productive.

“There are many social and mental health benefits and these create better outcomes for people in their later years.”

Run out of the Griffith Community Hub, other classes on offer include how to safely navigate around the home, gentle exercise and diabetes management.

“We have a philosophy of enablement and reablement,” Ric says.

“If someone has an injury, we strive to get them reabled back to their pre-injury mobility.”

Life Without Barriers can work with retirees to maximise government funding for the activities to help keep their costs down or even make it cost neutral to the participant, says Ric.

“We [also] provide… support such as home care, cleaning, garden and home maintenance, house modification and personal care,” he says.

Life Without Barriers, 25 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith. Call 1800 935483 or visit

Gail Freeman of Gail Freeman & Co.

‘Super’ tips to help you prepare 

IT’S never too early to start thinking about retirement and how much superannuation is needed to fund it, says Gail Freeman, of Gail Freeman & Co. 

“From the day you start working, a percentage of your wages go into super,” she says.

“It’s important to know and understand your super fund as well as consolidate any old funds you might have.

“[And] as you get older, it’s useful to check if you have enough super for retirement.”

According to Gail, there are things people can do to increase the amount they have in their superannuation account leading into retirement, such as adding up to $25,000 as a personal contribution, which can be made in a tax deductible manner. 

If people don’t put the full $25,000 in one year, Gail says there are new rules allowing them to carry the balance forward to contribute in the following five years. 

“Depending on your tax rate, making a personal contribution to top up your super can be an attractive proposition,” she says. 

Gail also recommends to check how much insurance (if any) is in the super fund, as people might be paying for insurance they no longer need when they finish working.   

“There are recent changes to super rules that people may need to be aware of, so I recommend discussing your personal situation with a professional,” she says. 

Gail Freeman & Co offers investment advice, superannuation and retirement planning services, in addition to tax and business accounting.   

Gail Freeman & Co, 9/71 Leichhardt Street, Kingston. Call 6295 2844, email or see

Future-proof your estate

Lawyer Ashilpa Khanna of Capon & Hubert Lawyers & Mediators.

RECENT changes might affect a person when drawing up a will or organising estate planning arrangements, says Ashilpa Khanna, of Capon & Hubert Lawyers & Mediators.

Ashilpa says changes include superannuation arrangements and tax implications for beneficiaries under different types of trusts. 

“It is very important to consult with someone with whom you are able to ask questions [about these changes],” she says.

“This helps in being well informed when drawing up your will or making estate planning arrangements.”

With its personalised approach, Ashilpa says Capon & Hubert Lawyers & Mediators spends time with its clients to find the best possible solution at a reasonable cost – including wills and estate planning.

“Wills and estate planning are important because they ensure that your loved ones are looked after when you are gone,” she says. 

“Having your affairs in order saves time and money or the need to prove something before the court. 

“It also ensures that your lifetime’s assets are disposed of in the manner that you would have intended.

“If your circumstances have changed since you last made your will, it is best to seek advice and make an informed decision as to whether your will needs updating.”

Capon & Hubert Lawyers & Mediators, First Floor, 32-38 Townshend Street, Phillip. Email, call 6152 9203 or visit

Ben looks at pain from all angles

MOST people need a combination of interventions to manage their pain, says the director of Canberra Chiropractic, Dr Ben Schutte, who has been helping clients manage pain for about 30 years.

But, he says what’s most important when managing pain is what people do for themselves in conjunction with their healthcare adviser.

When it comes to pain at Canberra Chiropractic, Ben says the services they offer revolve around a series of adjustments along with prescribed exercises and advice on what behaviours to change.

“[This] usually includes being more active,” he says. 

Ben says factors like stress, fear and a sedentary lifestyle can amplify pain. 

“We know from recent neurophysiology studies that pain is actually an emotion which is generated in your brain,” he says.

“This occurs when the brain perceives that an injury has occurred.”

Ben says Canberra Chiropractic can also help people manage issues such as lower back pain, sciatica, upper-body pain, headaches, dizziness and sports injuries. 

Canberra Chiropractic, Unit 5, 9 McKay Street, Turner. Call 6247 3388, email or visit

Luxury pods with ageing in mind

CREATED with the ageing population in mind, The Pod Canberra’s family-run team are the modern innovators of the granny flat, which are otherwise known as secondary residences, says co-founder Jacki Valk. 

“It’s hard to find a good, high-quality secondary home for your backyard and that’s where we come in,” says Jacki, who also wanted to create the “pod” for people living with disabilities, people looking for investment opportunities and to give more space to parents or kids to escape to. 

“All kinds of solutions have been offered for a pod. They have wide entry doors and we can build it with ramps, lifts and large entertaining areas.”

Jacki says the pod is unique because it provides an all-inclusive price that includes; the plans, DA approvals, BA approvals, construction (ready to move in with items such as flooring, blinds, whitegoods and TV) and handover. 

“It’s hard to find good a high-quality secondary home for your backyard and that’s where we come in,” Jacki says.

“We have made it to how myself and my parents like to live, small luxury we call it.” 

The Pod Canberra opens a two-bedroom, one-bathroom pod in Giralang once a month for people to have a look and get a feel for the size.  

The Pod Canberra. Call 1300 843763 or visit


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