It has been a thrill for Joy and Greg Newling to witness the official opening of Uniting's stunning new retirement community at Bowden Brae in the leafy Sydney suburb of Normanhurst.
The couple downsized into a spacious, light-filled apartment during the first stage of the development and, as the community took shape around them, Bowden Brae became their perfect retirement home.
Theirs is one of a range of stylish, open plan two and three bedroom apartments with private balconies and courtyards set in adjoining buildings around a lovely village green and manicured gardens.
“We are on an upper level and love looking out to the trees and seeing the sunsets. It’s great being able to go away, lock the door and know that all will be well,” says Joy.
As one of Uniting's largest independent living communities, Bowden Brae joins a number of other developments that are setting a new benchmark for sophisticated apartment-style retirement living in Australia.
“We can still have our grandchildren come to play and stay”
Besides being freed from the responsibilities of a too-large home, one of the biggest benefits of moving was no longer having to maintain the gardens at their north shore home. “There are no more lawns to mow!” Joy announces happily.
However, for Joy and Greg, having access to the village green at Bowden Brae more than compensates. It's a leafy outdoor haven where residents can sip a coffee in the café’s undercover alfresco area, or simply stroll and enjoy the fresh air.
The abundance of open space means that all generations of the family feel welcome. “We can still have our grandchildren come to play and stay. They love using the playground equipment,” Joy says.
Two generations of Newlings enjoying a recent event at Uniting Bowden Brae
“Two or three days a week I go to the gym first thing”
Exercise is a priority for Joy and having regular access to Bowden Brae’s state-of-the-art seniors’ gym is proving to be an excellent way to boost her fitness.
Joy enjoying the state of the art seniors’ gym on-site
“We were so pleased when the gym and pool opened as they were part of the attraction when we decided to move here,” Joy says.
“Two or three days a week I go to the gym first thing,” she adds. “It’s fantastic being able to walk and be there in only a few minutes.”
One of the gym’s unique benefits is that it provides customised plans designed by exercise physiologists, and imported smart-tech machines tailored specifically to the needs of seniors.
“There’s always an experienced physiologist on duty when the gym is open,” Joy told us. “Before I started, I went through a very thorough assessment and explanation of the program. I was asked what I wanted to achieve and my program was tailored accordingly.”
“During the first two sessions Nick, the physiologist, explained the different machines and made sure I knew how to use them correctly. He keeps an eye on what everyone is doing so that we stay on track and keep working effectively.”
Joy working with experienced physiologist, Nick
Joy says the residents value the level of personal and age-appropriate attention they receive. “We have regular individual assessments with Nick and are welcome to raise any concerns. Fall prevention is also an important part of our exercise regime.”
She appreciates the gym's open and airy atmosphere, its big windows and natural outlook. “It’s light and well organised with plenty of room and easy access to the other facilities and amenities,” she says. “ Being able to look out onto the village green and lovely gardens as well as seeing other residents is a big plus.”
Joy also enjoys being able to take a post-workout dip in the relaxing ambience of Bowden Brae’s indoor pool, which is located in a dedicated poolhouse adjacent to the village green. “It’s great to be able to have a swim after a session at the gym,” she says.
“It's a caring community where neighbours and friends look out for each other”
Although the apartments function as thoughtfully designed private retreats – “the soundproofing is great and we never hear any noise from our neighbours,” Joy notes – Bowden Brae is nevertheless an inclusive community that equally values interaction.
With this in mind, it has plenty of amenities and activities that support mental wellbeing and connection.
In Bowden Brae's beautifully appointed clubroom, for example, residents can watch movies, play games, enjoy snacks or drinks, or just relax by the fireplace when it's cold outside. The facilities are roomy enough to accommodate large groups and have multiple activities going on at once. A community chapel is also located alongside the clubroom.
Joy enjoying a cup of tea with fellow residents
According to Joy, “There’s a good balance between living in our own apartment and being involved in the community. We feel secure, and it’s a caring community where neighbours and friends look out for each other.”
“It’s nice to walk around the village and meet other residents. We’re very involved with our Rotary Club so sometime we might host a meeting or activity here. And we love being able to invite friends for coffee in the new café.
Greg enjoying time with friends in the library
“We also connect with other residents through shared activities such as music, jigsaws, carpet bowls and art classes – to name just a few. There are Friday drinks and every month we celebrate birthdays with an afternoon tea or BBQ.”
Joy points out that it’s easy to stock up on necessities for meals and entertaining: “There are two supermarkets less than ten minutes drive away, so it's very easy to get the shopping done.” The ease of having an on-site hair and beauty salon at Bowden Brae is also something she appreciates.
Bowden Brae is close to two major hospitals and the Wahroonga shopping precinct is just down the road, giving residents additional dining options, a post office and other essential services.
It’s conveniently located for transport – buses pass by and Normanhurst Railway Station is less than a 10 minute walk away.
Assisted Living services offer additional peace of mind
Apartments at Bowden Brae include a range of features like spacious lifts, easy mobility access, and zero threshold shower recesses which support residents to age in place.
Importantly, residents will also have access to a range of Assisted Living services through Uniting’s “Freedom Club”.
These services will enable them to get regular or as-needed assistance with meals, shopping, transport to appointments, personal care and much more from friendly, qualified carers.
Cleaning services are provided by a regular group of friendly faces, giving residents a point of contact with staff who get to know them and their preferences.
Freshly-cooked meals can be delivered to an apartment or villa or enjoyed in company in the shared facilities.
After an operation or illness, personal carers can give social support and help with prescriptions, wound dressing and transport to doctors or allied health appointments.
Carmen from the Assisted Living team
Assisted Living is all about giving residents a more complete set of choices and supporting them in their retirement journey, whether it's to help them remain independent for longer, to enable couples with varying needs to stay together, or simply to improve their overall quality of life.
Learn more about Bowden Brae
Featuring a superb balance of indoor and outdoor living together with facilities designed specifically for residents' fitness and wellbeing, Bowden Brae is fast becoming one of Sydney’s most desirable places for healthy retirement living. A residential aged care home is also located on the property.
With 100 years of experience providing accommodation and care for older Australians, you’re in expert hands with Uniting.
For more information about Uniting Bowden Brae, and to book a tour of our display apartment, please click here