“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”

So said Joni Mitchell, in her iconic 1970s song Big Yellow Taxi which protested against environmental destruction.

Australia’s over 50s are also currently contemplating what they’ve lost - not due to overdevelopment but instead as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Freedoms and options which have been a part of everyday life are now in limbo.

Cruise trip holidays and trips to Europe - cancelled. 

Summer holidays on the Gold Coast - prohibited if you live in Sydney or Melbourne. 

Visiting relatives in New Zealand for Christmas - almost impossible.

Consistent stock market returns - in major doubt.

With this in mind, Victorian land lease community operator Lifestyle Communities called for applications from its residents for cash grants to realise their post-COVID 19 dreams.

It was flooded with more than 116 entries from across 15 communities.

Tim and Diane Williams at Lifestyle Bittern were chosen as the overall winners, with a grant of $1,000 to enable them to tick off their bucket list dream of making the journey to the very tip of Australia, Cape York, after three previous failed attempts.

In addition to the overall prize, there was also a winner selected from each of the 15 Lifestyle Communities who were awarded $250 towards realising an item on their bucket list. 

Bridget Meehan, Lifestyle Communities Wellness Coordinator, said: “It was lovely to be able to help people fulfill their sometimes-lifelong dreams.

“There will often be obstacles to achieving these dreams, but these grants can go some way towards making them happen”.

The Lifestyle Communities grant process follows a survey undertaken by Brand Partners in May 2020 which asked hundreds of retirement village residents what they wanted to do right after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Interestingly, more glamorous pursuits such as travel, shopping or beauty treatments featured reasonably well down the list.

Instead, 20 per cent of respondents said they wanted to “see family and friends” while 16 per cent were looking forward to a “party or social event”.

A further 12 per cent wanted “outdoor activity” and 12 per cent simply wanted to “eat out”.

This goes to show that, for many people, they just want the simple things in life back….

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