When it comes to over-50s lifestyle communities, Halcyon Greens is smashing it. The development can’t stop winning awards. It has been attracting buyers from all over the country who are flocking to the Gold Coast in unprecedented numbers. With the Pimpama community’s final stage now selling, Silver Magazine took a spin around the development to see all of the good stuff before it sells out.
Several years ago, Halcyon founders Dr Bevan Geissmann and Paul Melville took a trip to Florida, the epicentre of over50s lifestyle resorts. Returning to Australia with the latest thinking on the good life, the vision for Halcyon Greens was born. “Our vision for Halcyon Greens was to create modern, country club living, the size and scale of which has never been seen in over-50s living in Australia,” Dr Geissmann said.
Masterplanned by Sanctuary Cove architect Brian Toyota, the northern Gold Coast community is located on an 84-acre island. It is surrounded by a nature reserve, and stunning native wetlands. Also, it is nestled next to the ultramodern community of Gainsborough Greens. Residents have private access to the club’s 18-hole Championship golf course and clubhouse.
Many homeowners enjoy free golf as a benefit of living at Halcyon Greens. They are incredibly active in organised competitions… but are also partial to a social game with friends. Outside of golf, there are plenty of activities, with groups and events being organised to keep homeowners busy and connected.
$20 MILLION LIFESTYLE AND RECREATIONAL PRECINCT
Running through the community and located across six acres is the $20 million lifestyle and recreational precinct. This is the largest, purpose-built facility of its kind in Queensland. It rivals many of Queensland’s five-star tourism resorts. Homeowners have access to 22 different functional spaces, it caters to more than 40 individual sporting, leisure and recreational groups. Homeowners can enjoy both casual and formal events, in different spaces, which are connected by enclosed walkways.
The Lodge is the more formal of the leisure facilities. It features a luxe seated area with stone fireplace, commercial kitchen and bar, private dining room, a 40-seat Gold Class cinema, library and sala.
Surrounding The Lodge is an outdoor seating area which looks out over the resort pool. It has sun lounges, a beach entry and disability rail for ease of entry. Plus there’s a sunken firepit, which is perfect for afternoon meets.
On the other side of the resort pool is the Recreation Club. It has a commercial kitchen and bar, parquet dancefloor, function space, 25-metre heated mineral pool, spa, gym, hair salon, beauty treatment spaces and bocce court.
The Pavilion opens to eight pickleball courts, tennis court and a championship-size bowling green, all floodlit so homeowners can play well into the evening. It also offers BBQ facilities, kitchenette, function space and a billiards area.
LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED
Halcyon communities are designed to provide homeowners with the ability to do as much or as little as they like. The homes are built to allow ageing in place and the facilities offer a platform for homeowners to form vibrant sporting and leisure groups. The social club at Halcyon Greens, known as the ‘fun club’ is incredibly active. It organises many events and activities ranging from live concerts, themed dinners, fashion parades, mystery bus trips, excursions and trivia competitions.
A team of busy volunteers work hard to organise the many events. Group president Ann Ryan said the best thing about being involved with the social group is having the opportunity to meet more people in the community. “It brings homeowners together from the single homeowners to the couples who socialise and connect with the rest of the community. It’s great watching people who haven’t danced in a long time hit the dance floor. It’s also great seeing the people who have just joined our community talking to new friends, and happy.”
The community has recently had trips to Maleny, the theatre in Brisbane and one of Gold Coast’s most fun cover bands, Koi Boys, played live at the Recreation Club. “We are spoiled for choice as you need to prioritise what you want to go to each week as there are so many things on offer,” said Ann.
Halcyon is no stranger to industry recognition being the most awarded creators and operators of over-50s lifestyle communities, with almost 30 national and state awards.
Halcyon Greens is no exception with the Pimpama community winning the prestigious Urban Development Industry Australia (UDIA) Queensland’s 2020 awards for Best Seniors Living and Best Master Planned Community.
The community was shortlisted in the national awards. This made it the first developer of over-50s communities to be a finalist in the Seniors Living and Master Planned categories.
The UDIA recognition was off the back of the community’s $20 million Recreation and Lifestyle Precinct winning the Master Builder’s award for Best Tourism and Leisure Facilities over $10 million, beating many hotels and tourist resorts on the Gold Coast.
More so, Halcyon Greens is also a final in this year’s national Urban Developer Awards, which are yet to be announced.
Halcyon Greens has been designed and built to take advantage of green technology. This lowers the carbon footprint of the community and offers homeowners more certainty over energy costs. The community has six-leaf UDIA EnviroDevelopment certification for its sustainability initiatives across ecosystems, landscaping, waste and recycling, energy, materials and water.
In addition to this, Halcyon homes are built using materials such as steel frames, Hebel panels, insulation and 3.5kW solar panels and solar hot water as standard, with many homeowners choosing to upgrade to 5.0kW. Many homes have Tesla batteries which drive down energy costs even further, with one homeowner revealing they were averaging around 1.0kWh per day compared to their previous home (also solar powered) of around 11kWh per day. “The cost comparison isn’t simple because we had solar in our previous home with a very good feed-in rate. However our average daily cost in our previous home was $1.00 per day compared to a credit of $2.70 per day at Halcyon Greens,” the homeowner said.
THIS IS THE LIFE
The lush island oasis has allowed the community developers of Halcyon Greens to dream big and create an exceptional lifestyle community. The team at Silver have visited and can vouch that the development is everything that the builders have promised. We highly recommend doing the tour. The final stage of the Pimpama community is now selling and with the Gold Coast real estate market set to get hotter over the coming years, the time to inspect Halcyon Greens in now. Enjoy!
Don’t let your age stop the party… check out these most debonaire of the chair.
HOMECRAFT OVER ARMCHAIR TABLE
This does exactly what it says on the tin! The table goes over an armchair and can be tilted towards the user. It can hold a book or a tablet for a seriously comfy relaxing time. Or it can be fixed to the right or left side of a bed, too. The laminated teak tabletop is easy to clean. And there is a neat little side table to hold a mug of coffee/tea. Relaxing time has never been so comfy.
FOAM LEG RAISER
The ergonomically designed foam leg raiser can help to provide support to swollen legs and stimulate circulation. It is ideal for use on a bed or flat surface. It has a high-density foam base with a memory foam topper and a soft velour cover. Okay, that’s the legs sorted out! Let’s see what tonight’s movie is! Life is good!
ASPIRE SIGNATURE LIFT RECLINE SPACE, SAVER
This space-saving chair can be placed close to walls to save space. The depth of the seat is adjustable so your body will fit into it like a hand into a glove. It has a large side pocket for storage, and the handset fits right in that very pocket. Users can easily get the handset, discouraging leaning and possible falls. It comes with four wheels so the chair can be easily moved. The handset has large backlit buttons. And it also comes with a USB charger point to charge phones, tablets, and devices.
The European-designed electronics provide a quiet and smooth lift, complete with an integrated battery backup. Adjustable padding means that support can be individualized. The high-quality foam upholstery snugly covers the steel frame which gives the user great posture support. And it has easy-clean fabric – with commercial-grade durability and resistance to flame, mold, mildew, and pilling. Afternoon naps, here we come.
LIFT TO STAND CHAIRS
This Aspire Air Lift Chair is a powered armchair that gets you up and out…or puts you down and makes you comfy. The air system makes both the seat and footrest the best place to put your body parts. It is made of medical-grade Dartex upholstery – which is anti-microbial.
The lift system is smooth and quiet. And there are lots of rise and recline positions to choose from. The backrest is made from multilayer foam and fibre pillow sections. So it is a soft, breathable and supportive surface ideal for extended periods of sitting. The chair comes with wheels for mobility. Yes indeed Netflix and Chill just got a lot more comfy.
ASPIRE DA VINCI LIFT RECLINER CHAIR
This is the Mercedes Benz of the lift recliner chair world. It is unrivalled for comfort and positioning from using its four separate adjustable motors. This lift chair can recline back with just the push of a button. Sleep is just a recline away. Then, it can bring the user to sitting position with another push of a button.
When the user wants to get up and go to standing position, then with the touch of one more button, it will tilt the chair forward. It is a great adaptive tool for anyone having trouble going from sitting to standing due to mobility issues.
It has independent headrest and lumbar functions. You can choose from four colour options in plush microsuede. It comes with a handset with integrated USB port. User can be up to 159kg.
CHRIS AND GINNY are just two examples of the growing number of retirees who have made the move into The Verge. One of the new vertical retirement villages by RetireAustralia. The vertical community is moments from the sea and has sweeping views over Burleigh Golf Course.
Vertical retirement villages are becoming much more common. Going vertical means that amenities that retirees love, like gyms, cafes, rooftop bbq areas and multipurpose rooms for community activities and social gatherings are just an elevator ride away. Also, seeing as we are living longer, more healthy lives than ever before in history, we have a clear need for fun for a lot longer. Living vertical means that these centres can be placed right in vibrant urban villages, near restaurants, good shopping haunts and cultural centres. The Verge is just three minutes from the beach.
Chris, who describes himself as independent, said he initially thought a retirement community would never be for him. But Ginny changed his mind. “I could see the fact that it was the right decision, I just didn’t want to let go. I think all of us only need to hear about someone else’s misfortune to see how difficult it becomes if you don’t make the decision yourself when you are able and healthy to make it.”
Ginny said it was absolutely the right choice to move to The Verge. “It’s not a nice thought, but if you get sick down the track or have a fall, someone else is making the decision for you. We’ve had the time to be able to think about it and for everybody to get used to the idea. Now, we have everything at our fingertips. It all makes sense.”
Not everyone may need assistance today, but The Verge is five steps ahead regardless. There are wide corridors, lots of storage, natural light, switches and power points at accessible heights, deep showers and reinforced bathroom walls to retrofit railings. These are all built-in without disturbing the aesthetic or sacrificing the comforts of home.
Now that the couple has settled in, they say they haven’t missed yard work and maintaining a house. Says Chris, “I absolutely love not having to mow the lawn. It was the right decision. It frees me up to do the things that really matter to me. And it’s nice to know help is there if we need it.” ■
Three Verge display apartments are available for viewing.
Nursing homes/care centres used to be a beige world of sitting down in front of the TV and eating boiled cabbage at mealtimes. But not anymore. The team at Silver Magazine did the tour of Odyssey Lifestyle Care Community at Robina, and we were ridiculously impressed. Here are all the things you can look forward to.
RÓISÍN MURPHY REPORTS.
I and my colleague from Silver Magazine walked into the Care Community at Robina, the first thing we noticed was the high ceilings. The architecture is beautiful in the reception area, and the décor is super-stylish. As we moved through the building, we realised that there were a lot of beautiful spaces. It was a great first impression.
As we were shown through to the restaurant/café area, we were delighted to see little kids from a pre-school nearby playing with the residents. There were board games happening, drawing was going on, there were rides on walkers. Both the littlies and the residents were having a really good time. The intergenerational program runs every two weeks and the residents love it. Also, the kids were lapping up the adult attention they were getting. Don’t get me wrong, they were playing those board games to win, the competitive spirit was fierce.
But they were loving the adult company. We have all seen documentaries where they show experiments with the generations from the opposite ends of the age spectrum…but seeing it in practice is just something else. We humans should have been doing this all along. Older people and little kids are such a natural fit. The older people have the time to lavish lots of attention, and the kids were thriving on it. Everyone in the room was having a really great time. What a win‑win. It felt happy.
FOOD AT THE COMMUNITY
I and my colleague got even happier a minute after that when we were invited to sample the coffee and cake. Even though I say coffee and cake. I mean café‑style coffee was so good I snuck back and got another one. There were cakes such as mini danish and a choc caramel slice so tasty I saw my skinny sugar-avoiding colleague take two. This isn’t the image that comes to mind from a caring community. This is what you picture at a beachfront café that is full of trendy people with thousand-dollar prams and $250 boardies.
The more formal restaurant and casual café area feel like an actual nice restaurant and café. You wouldn’t know you were in a caring community. And here is the best bit. Residents can eat chefprepared food for just $15 a day. For this, they get two a la carte meals (lunch and dinner) and which can be chosen from a menu. That works out at just $7.50 for lunch and $7.50 for dinner. Not only that, residents can have family and friends meet them in the restaurant. Just make a booking and pay at reception. So if residents don’t want to cook for say, a mother’s day celebration, they can still have everyone over for a meal. Let the lunch parties roll on!
After we sample the food, we are taken to meet the Lifestyle Coordinator, Alison. Alison definitely has a fun job. She gets to take the residents out on seriously cool day trips. They flit around the Gold Coast and surrounds. In the days before we got there, residents told us they went to Yatala pie shop to get pies, which they thought was hilarious fun. They go to art galleries, they go on river cruises, they go up to Mount Tamborine, wine tasting.
FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT
They also go on shopping trips to surrounding shopping centres. But there’s cool stuff at home too. The residents do exercises in the morning. They have hand pampering sessions and get their nails done. They get facials as well. There are entertainers visiting all the time, anything from pianists, to harpists, to karaoke. Next on the activities planner is a wine-tasting session in the wine cellar on site. Everything about this place is wrapped in a little bit of luxury and sophistication. The top floor – storey seven – is a sky garden, where Odyssey held an experimental wine tasting night recently. The terrace had never been so busy. I think we are all ready to move in.
The display apartments look like something out of a home magazine. They are styled beautifully, and the layout is incredibly well-thought-out. This isn’t twee granny taste. This is sophisticated, stylish, and clean, with excellent storage spaces. There are designer appliances and finishes, and sensitive accessibility design. But the overall look is one of a modern and minimal haven. Residents can furnish their apartments however they want, from the interior décor to the colour scheme.
When you take the tour of Odyssey you’ll understand just how cool the tech is (seriously do the tour, even to get an idea of what is out there on the market). The use of tech is now so impressive, I am sure we are all ready for the robots to take over.
The most impressive bit of the kit is the smart TV that comes with the apartment. The technology is provided by HSC Technology Group – it is a Set‑Top‑Box connected to the resident’s television, much like those you experience in high-end hotels.
Residents can use the TV to see things like weekly activities, and the restaurant menu. They can access social media on it, Google to their heart’s content, play audiobooks, play games. The TVs have cameras so that residents can use them to video call their friends and relatives. Residents have been using the TV during Covid to have a doctor’s consultation, without having to leave home. And of course, there’s Netflix and normal TV too!
There’s another tech that is very impressive. Odyssey has a sensor system that can map a person’s usual use of their apartment. If anything drastically changes, an alert is set off. They do this with just infrared sensors, rather than cameras so that the resident’s privacy is preserved. For example, if a person is on the floor in an unusual position, or if anything else is wrong, the sensors will detect this. The tech installed in Odyssey has the sole aim of being preventative rather than reactive.
There are other really thoughtful extras at Odyssey. One of these is the transition room. This is a room, which looks exactly like a luxury hotel room. It is downstairs very close to the nurses’ office. If a resident goes through a bout of illness or has returned from a hospital stay, and they don’t feel confident to stay in their apartment, they can use this room until they are confident enough to return to their usual life. They are not charged to use this room and can use it for as long as it takes, maybe a couple of days, maybe a week. This room can also be used by a family member of a resident in some situations.
THE FINAL WORD
There are some new ways of thinking at Odyssey that make it really different to other offerings. The best part about it is that once you have moved in, you never have to move again if you don’t want to. Every level of care can be provided in every apartment.
When people move in, they may feel fit and active. It is hard for residents to picture at this stage that they might need help to shower or do other tasks. Then suddenly, a higher level of care is needed, and it is at this stage that nobody wants to be moving. The ideal scenario is while you’re still fit and well, you settle in, you make friends, and you feel at home by the time you need a high level of care.
At Odyssey, there’s the retirement village vibe, with lots of opportunities for friendship and company, plus a lifestyle care community. This is especially good for couples where one partner can still go out and do their own thing, knowing that Odyssey can look after the other resident.
Residents can also have a pet join them, invite grandkids for sleepovers and couples stay together. Residents can come and go as they like, and have visitors. It is a perfect balance.
Odyssey, from what we have seen here at Silver Magazine, is the best of both worlds between retirement and aged care. The peace of mind that this is your last move is an excellent selling point. I think we are all ready to move in and grab a spot in those wine tastings. An Mt Tamborine Cab Sav? Don’t mind if I do! ■
Planning on meeting up with friends for lunch or coffee date? We checked out Tweed Mall, and the fantastic food temptations there. Here are our top picks for eats with friends!
DANOSI KITCHEN: TWEED MALL
Danosi Kitchen is the place for Asian food lovers. There is a range of traditional Japanese flavours such as teriyaki chicken, seared salmon, karaage chicken and sashimi. For only $3.80 per plate and modern table service, Danosi Kitchen is a perfect place for lunch or dinner.
JUSTIFY YA CAFÉ
Justify Ya Cafe is open for breakfasts seven days a week, from 7am. It has fabulous big breakfasts, mouth-watering pancakes and lighter options. Justify Ya Café is a locally-owned modern café, where food, coffee and social come together. The coffee is to die for. Plus, they also have a great kids menu for the Grandkids.
PASTRY BREAD ESPRESSO
This is a little slice of the Parisian pastry and bakery culture on the Tweed Coast. There are traditional classics like pain-au-chocolat – to more unique and inventive flavour combos that you won’t have tried before. There is both sweet and savoury treats, artisan bread, baguettes and a selection of authentic patisserie classics baked daily. The deliciousness!
Muffin Break is all about freshly baked goodness and delicious coffee. But it is not just about the best muffins in town, they also have a lunch menu that includes things like bacon and zucchini rice slice, or a bacon egg and tomato flaky tart. You could also try the pulled beef and sundried tomato stonebaked roll or the feta and walnut salad. Tasty!
HEALTH FOOD CENTRAL
Health Food Central is the place to get vitamins, probiotics, organic fresh produce, and other health-focused groceries. You can get advice instore – the locally-owned and run shop has naturopaths, nutritionists, herbal specialists on staff to answer all your questions, and give advice. As for healthy snacks, this is an organic wonderland!
As well as having an extensive range of meat, freshly prepared on site daily, they have fresh homemade quiches and sausage rolls ready for a quick lunch. Their chunky steak pies uses the butcher’s own tender diced beef and lean premium mince. Master Meats are gaining a reputation as having the best pies on the Tweed.
With freshly made Sushi available daily, Sushi Yaki is the place to visit for that hit of Asian food goodness. Grab a platter of mixed Sushi for only $50 – it is a quick and easy lunch for a bunch of friends. You can even grab a rice bowl and a drink and head down to the beautiful river for a get together with nature. Nice!
TWEED GROWERS MARKET
Brendan, owner of Tweed Mall Growers Market, has over 30 years’ experience in the fresh produce industry. He personally handpicks all items for his store. And, he enjoys introducing the next generation to an exciting range of fruit and vegetables they may not have seen before. He also gives advice on how to store and cook the food and make sensational meals. Tasty!
TWEED COOLANGATTA SEAFOOD AND CAFÉ: TWEED MALL
This café is known for locally sourced seafood, procured from the Tweed trawlers every day. If you love fresh seafood, prawns, and oysters, this is your place. If it is cooked seafood you are after, then you are in luck. They also have fish and chips, burgers, fish, calamari, and other seafood favourites. If you want a seafood feast with your buddies, head straight there!
Things we love about Tweed Mall:
The range of fresh food and dining options
Easy free undercover car parking
The mall is on one level
There are tonnes of shopping options to discover
There are three supermarkets under one roof – ALDI, Coles and Woolworths.
There are an array of speciality fresh food stores – produce, meat, bakery, and seafood. Yum!
Phil Usher has been part of the aged-care sector for almost 20 years. Here, he gives us an insight into this opportunity to simplify your life and free yourself in your later years.
A Brand New Adventure: Don’t Doubt Downsizing
So, you’re downsizing. You’ve reached that inevitable next phase in life to simplify, de-clutter and take stock of what’s really important to you. But don’t fret, downsizing can also mean that a whole new adventure is on the cards!
To some, the prospect of downsizing can evoke uncertainty or fear. This big change in life can be more akin to pulling teeth, or getting cornered into a gruelling timeshare presentation. But downsizing doesn’t have to dampen your spirits or create unnecessary worries – in fact, it should be the exact opposite!
First and foremost, you need to change your mindset and see downsizing as an opportunity for a new beginning, because that is exactly what it is. It should be viewed as a new era; one we should encourage ourselves and our loved ones to approach with zest and excitement.
Odyssey Residents: Don’t Doubt Downsizing
The people we see at Odyssey often feel a little daunted and overwhelmed with the idea of moving from a large home into a smaller setting. And of course, it is difficult when you or a loved one has been in the same house for many years and then it’s time for the next stage. But it’s also important to feel comfortable with the process.
Life is full of stuff and most of us spend a significant amount of time accumulating bits and bobs over the years to remind us where we’ve been, what we’ve seen and who we love. But as we age, clutter can become an issue, creating trip hazards, and making it difficult to find things.
When you start to declutter, don’t view this as a painful departing process, but instead see it as a way to empower either ourselves or our loved ones with choice and control. It’s often thought that our children or grandchildren will want to hold onto various items, but sadly and unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Don’t Doubt Downsizing, Pick Out Items Close to Your Heart
Hold onto the things that have meaning, whether it’s family pictures, a favourite reading chair or a few items that hold special memories. Everything else is mostly just ‘things’. A general rule to follow is, if it hasn’t been used in six months, it’s probably not needed.
One of the best things about downsizing is the ease of living in a low-maintenance environment. While it can be challenging to adjust to a new schedule and a whole new lifestyle, it’s always a pleasant surprise to have more freedom and time to do the things you love.
Whether it be spending more quality time with family and friends or engaging in new social activities, downsizing is a chapter of life that should not cause angst. It truly is a time for you to live your best life, and perhaps take up a new hobby that you didn’t have the time for before. Downsizing can bring out a whole new era of self-discovery for you that maximises the most essential elements of life – having fun and being happy and healthy.
When considering your new space, identify the things that are important to you. Things like access to quality care, remaining independent, maintaining a sense of control, living in a petfriendly setting, and being able to bond with those you love.
Choosing the Correct Location
Choose somewhere that aligns with your values, what you want, and what kind of lifestyle you want to maintain. You want to be able to focus on continuing life as normal as possible in a great atmosphere – while feeling safe and secure about where you live. My whole goal is to ensure that Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities combine the best of retirement resort community living with first-class care built in.
Remember, the moral to the story is to change the way we see downsizing. Don’t doubt downsizing. It’s a new beginning and something you can take on with a smile and excitement. It’s about decluttering, but also about experiencing something new – a space where you’re comfortable, safe and happy. ■
PHIL USHER has been part of the aged care sector for almost 20 years. He has a keen understanding of what seniors want when it comes to living out their twilight years on their own terms.
Phil’s Mum, who passed away from dementia-related complications, was the driving force behind why he’s created an alternative to traditional aged care. When considering aged care for her, Phil couldn’t find a place that offered her the kind of life she wanted. So he made improving aged care his odyssey. If it’s not good enough for the people Phil loves, it’s simply not good enough.
Phil’s determination to create the best alternative to aged-care led to a fresh, heart-centred approach known as a Lifestyle Care Community. At Odyssey the power is given back to residents. People are put first, they have their own home in a lifestyle-orientated community, couples stay together, pets are welcome, grandkids have sleepovers and most importantly – comfort, dignity and independence are the first priorities.
Click here, to know more about the lifestyle of silver citizens.