Plan a visit to this baby boomer playground



They defined the 1960s and made it the decade of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. And today, as the first of the baby boomers hit 70, they are redefining retirement.

Most don’t see themselves as ‘retirees’ in the traditional sense. They are incredibly active, both physically and in terms of working, volunteering and travelling.

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Retirement homes, once perceived as sterile and bland, are now catering to the needs of active, older Australians. Cinemas, cafés, gyms and gelato bars are just some of amenities you can expect to find.


The rock ‘n’ roll generation rocks on. Photo: Shutterstock

Developers are realising this shift and are building homes and apartments with not only the amenities, but with more space to integrate family members, such as grandkids and even pets.

The Stones

Eight years ago, property developer LendLease launched the newly appointed Little Bay Retirement Village. The development overlooks the pristine waters of Little Bay in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

I decided it was time to pay a visit to the baby boomer playground.

On first impression, the building looks like a modern apartment block. The receptionist tells me that the general public commonly mistake the building for apartments. It is only on closer inspection that I see the small sign that says retirement village.

This, I’m told, is on purpose: the residents hate the word retirement home!

I note there are no bowling greens here or a bingo hall. Instead, under construction are a lap pool and outdoor alfresco dining.

The villagers’ ages range from late 50s to 80s, and they pride themselves on being independent. I meet two of them.

Dr Paul Stone and his wife Ellen, both in their early 70s and still working, pride themselves on being active. The couple moved into their Little Bay apartment four-and-a-half years ago.

Ellen says they never intended on moving into a retirement home. They stumbled across the village on a morning walk. The couple were living in a large home with a pool and, with too much maintenance, downsizing was on the cards.


Retirement villages often have a busy social scene. Photo: Shutterstock

“We were walking around the area and saw apartments for sale. A salesperson showed us the three-bedroom apartment and I instantly fell in love. We talked about the costs and outgoings with the agents,” she says. “That night we didn’t sleep. We talked about the apartment all night.”

The next morning the couple put down a deposit on a modern, spacious three-bedroom apartment overlooking the bay.

“We had no idea what to expect about retirement living. We always said we’d never move into a retirement home; this is nothing like one. The most terrifying thing for us is, if this place started to look like a nursing home,” says Ellen.

“Our grandkids can come and stay overnight. Although we weren’t looking for a social life, we’ve made strong friendships here. There is plenty to do. We never thought we’d get involved in the events and now Paul runs a trivia night, once a month.”

Just the beginning

While apartment living in retirement villages is still a new concept, it really is no different from any other apartment living. There is a strong sense of community for those who want it and privacy for those who prefer to keep themselves to themselves.

The Stones clearly appear to be genuinely happy with their lot. What’s not to like? Walks down to the beach, breakfast with friends on the weekend, overseas holidays and no home maintenance.

“Even if we won the lotto, we wouldn’t move. Our life hasn’t ended because we’ve moved here, it’s just beginning,” says Ellen.

I walk away feeling the need to thank the baby boomers for transforming retirement into something more exciting.

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