There comes a time to all retired married couples when health issues cause them to pause and consider just what the future holds for them as a couple, and individually, should one of them die or need a level of care that the other cannot give. We decided that it would be better to move into a retirement/aged care complex while we still had reasonable health and could make the right choice without being a burden on other members of our family.

Having made this decision, the next question was where we should go. We had seen advertisements for many places in Wanganui and Palmerston North and checked out a few in Wanganui that were certainly most appealing, but we did not want to leave Marton where we have many friends and interests. Also Marton has an excellent medical facility in the Stewart Street Surgery, and is only about half an hour away from the public hospitals in Wanganui and Palmerston North. We were aware of the existence of Edale but wrongly thought it was only an aged care centre for very old and infirm single people. However, early in 2014, after hearing that there might be a house in Hadfield Court available for a married couple, we contacted the manager Jude Bartlett. She informed us that there were no houses available, but that the Edale Board, a non-profit trust, was about to embark on an expansion and modernization programme that included full hospital facilities and  the conversion of some of the existing one bedroom units into two bedroom ones suitable for married couples such as ourselves. These would be available on a ‘Licence to Occupy’ basis as are those in all the major N. Z. retirement villages. She showed us a basic plan and we agreed then and there to take the first one to be completed.

That was sixteen months ago, but the unit we are now settled into has been well worth the wait. The combined talents of the architect, Felicity Wallace, and Rob Peters the builder have converted four small one bedroom units into two spacious dwellings, each with a large open plan lounge-dining area attached to a dream kitchen, a good sized main bedroom, a second smaller bedroom, an exceptionally well appointed bathroom and a cleverly concealed laundry. We only wanted one bedroom so have had the second converted into a computer/television space, the whole looking out through large double glazed windows on to the Edale ‘village green’ where we regularly make contact with the other residents. We also meet with them once a fortnight at a tasty morning tea provided by Jude and her able helper Vicky Durston in the sun lounge of the main building. In the summer months there will be regular barbecues and organised trips to other towns and places of interest in the Rangitikei region and further afield.

We know that as we grow older we have five call points in the unit for emergency on-site attention and care if required. We will be able make use of the excellent meal service, either in the main dining room or delivered to our unit. Further down the track we will be able to have suitable care, and full hospital facilities if need be without having to go out of Marton.

For now, we can be as independent as we have always been, going away for a few days or on an extended holiday, knowing our home is safe (covered by 24 hour CCTV camera surveillance) and the lawns and garden kept neat and tidy. We know we have made the right choice at the right time and think we are extremely fortunate to be here.

Bruce & Glynn Ward.