Parkinson's New Zealand
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Does anyone live in independent living in a retirement village? Or, do you live on your own and get help from cleaners/carers?

My mother has is 62years old and has had parkinsons for 6 years now. She is now at a point where she is going through a divorce with my step-dad and needing to downsize to a smaller house.

We are trying to figure out whether it would be a good idea to go into an "independent living" house in a retirement village in Wellington (eg. somewhere like Summerset in Aotea) so she does not need to worry about sorting out the gardens and general housekeeping etc.. OR whether she moves into a smaller house with maybe 2 bedrooms and i is within walking distance of shops etc. If she moves into the house, we would be getting help from outside sources with helping with cleaning, and maybe checking how she is (I will be moving in with her first for a few months, but i will not always be living with her so we need to figure out how she will live independently - myself and friends will still be helping her a lot though).

I guess i'm just writing on here to see if anyone else has gone through the same sort of situation and could offer some advice? Are you living in an independent unit in a retirement village? how do you find it? OR are you getting help whilst living on your own - what sort of help?

The independent living in summerset looks nice, but i guess i just worry that with Mum being 62, i would not want her to feel out of place.

Any comments and advice would be awesome - thanks guys :)

4 Replies

I can not give you any advice but I was diagnosed at the same age as your mom and am already wondering what will be best for me in the near future and I am 59. Do I want to be in a gated development with activities, classes, exercise facilities, etc - or a small home with in walking distance to all the conveniences that I need. I do not see bing able to drive more that a few years more at best and need to prepare. I hope you get the advice you need from HealthUnlocked posts.


Thanks Park4me, Mum is not looking at an apartment at Summerset in Aotea. We would really like her to be in an independent house/villa but these are booked out years and years in advance which is a shame! So that would be a good idea to look at and book it in, before you need to go there because you may need to wait a few years on the waitlist.

If she does not go to the apartment in Summerset (you have to be 65 to live there but under circumstances they can let you in with medical reasons etc) we are thinking a little 2bedroom house right near the shops. We have had some people come and assess mum to see what help she can get when she is living on her own, so that will be a great help.


Hi there. I was diagnosed with PD at about 62, nearly 6 years ago. I was then working full time and happily living alone in an inner city apartment and walking to work. I found the medication made it i easy to cope with everything for quite a few years, even taking myself off for a long-planned trip to the UK. However things changed after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. I was out of my home for a few months, and my travel to work changed from just a few minutes to nearly an hour each way. After a brush with breast cancer in late 2011, I made the decision to retire at 65. I sold the apartment and bought an over 60s unit in a suburb close to most amenities. There are 20 standalone units, it is quiet and peaceful and all the neighbours are friendly. I can still drive, and so far haven't needed the excellent bus service. My elderly mother has moved into a retirement home just a few minutes away, and my son and daughter in law are also close.

I find fatigue is my biggest problem and have to keep reminding myself to not do too much! I go to aquajogging with a cousin 2-3 times a week and participate in an exercise class especially for people with PD (PD Warrior). I get help with the lawn and some gardening, otherwise manage quite well. i have always been a craftsperson and go to a knitting group and the Embroiderers guild.

I have done quite a bit of research into nutrition as i am sure there is a link with all of the current rash of illnesses (PD, diabetes, alzheimers. and heart disease etc) . While not going overboard I now prepare all meals from scratch, so I know exactly what I am eating, and can avoid sugar and unhealthy fats.

I don't see myself needing more assistance in the foreseeable future, as long as I concentrate on staying healthy.

I hope this is of help. Good luck.


Hi marchtoo, thanks for replying! Wow, you sound like you are doing really well - good on you! it is so nice to hear that you are managing your PD well and also really interesting about the nutrition. There is so much nasty sugar added in sooo many things these days, i can see why you would want to make your food from scratch! I am thinking that when mum is living on her own (she is not very good with cooking etc because she doesn't have much of an appetite so has no motivation to do it) we will try to get some really good nutricious meals made for her to have.

Sounds like you are living in the type of accomodation that would be well suited for my mum too. I must look up the PD warrior exercise :)