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Firm friendship found in village

Date: 02 Jun 2022

The benefits of retirement villages are well publicised, but for two Cantabrians, the highlight has been meeting a wonderful friend to share the experience with.

When Bev Rahurahu first moved into Bupa Parkstone Retirement Village in Christchurch, she was most looking forward to a stress-free lifestyle in a supportive environment as her husband Evan battled health issues.

Bupa Parkstone Bev&Anne2

What she wasn’t expecting was to bump into someone on the day she moved in who would become a close friend. But in the four years they’ve lived across the corridor from each other, Bev and Anne Gugich have become such great mates, they’ve even been mistaken for sisters.

“You don’t expect to make new friends when you’re getting as old as we are,” says Bev, who looked at eight retirement living options before deciding Bupa Parkstone was her perfect fit. “To meet somebody I could relate to right away, it’s like a bonus
or a bunch of roses. ”

Anne felt the same, also getting on brilliantly with Evan. “As the years go by, we can’t remember things – but between Evan, Bev and myself, we can finish a sentence,” jokes Anne, who was attracted to Parkstone’s apartment lifestyle.“We’re not in each other’s pockets… but we’re there a lot!”

While Bev and Anne are so in tune they almost sound the same, they actually enjoy quite different lifestyles at Bupa Parkstone. Anne loves the activities, taking part in tai chi and line-dancing classes. She points out that whether you want to swim in the pool or play cards, there’s something for everyone. “It’s almost like a cruise ship!”

Meanwhile, Bev admits she’s “quite happy on my own a lot of the time” and relishes privacy when she needs it. “Sometimes you just need your space and other times you want a damn good cry – or a damn good laugh – and you want somebody to know about it!”
Both have found retirement village living has surpassed their expectations and has ensured
they have avoided the loneliness that affects some people in their later years.

“When I was in my own home, there would be days when nobody would come around,” admits Anne, whose husband passed away a decade ago. “Here you can just walk out of the door and see someone.”
Bev agrees, “In your own house, you’re isolated – if my husband took ill, I couldn’t leave him and get help. But here, even if people don’t know what’s going on, you know they’re there.”

“I’m really happy here,” smiles Bev. “I don’t want to be anywhere else.”