Shirley Wright lived alone for 15 years in Nelson after her husband died.
But making the move to Abbeyfield in Auckland, where she shares a large house with 11 other retirees, wasn’t too much of an adjustment.
The sprightly woman who is ‘‘nearly 90’’ has volunteered much of her time helping others, and still volunteers for Age Concern lending a friendly ear to elderly people living in own homes who don’t have family.
‘‘Living with others was fine by me. You’ve got your independence, you’re safe and you’ve got friends.
‘‘Best of all you’re stressfree which really means you can pursue other interests.
‘‘I don’t think anybody is ever bored here.’’
There are 15 Abbeyfield locations in New Zealand offering shared independent living in a family-style house.
Shirley has lived in the Auckland house for two-anda-half years.
She pays a weekly rent which covers her own room with attached bathroom, bills, food and cooked meals.
The only things residents are required to do is make their own breakfast, clean their rooms, and buy their toiletries and laundry powder.
A live-in housekeeper provides security, cooks lunch and dinners and does most of the cleaning.
Shirley knew about Abbeyfield; there are three in and around Nelson, though she chose Auckland to be near her son. Her daughter lives in Christchurch and has enough on her plate dealing with the aftermath of the earthquakes, she says.
‘‘It was just a matter of come and have a look and wait for a room that was available.
‘‘It’s great here ... it’s homely and friendly. We’re more or less like a family.’’
Caring community: Shirley Wright enjoys the community atmosphere at Abbeyfield house in central Auckland.