Not all of Redland City is city, although the number of units, downsized housing and retirement villages are growing at an ever-increasing pace.
Why wouldn’t you want to retire to Redlands. The waterfront, the railway, the shopping centres, the abundant cafes, the entertainment, the access to the islands and the bush are all lures for retirees.
Recently, with the onset of cooler nights, my family convinced me that I wanted to have a campfire. Not for us the glamping or tenting three hours’ drive away. We do this in our own backyard at Mount Cotton.
We moved to Mount Cotton in the early 80s, when our kids were young and when we could ride our horses along Mount Cotton Rd and down to the mango trees which grew near where the IGA now stands. Our kids spent their holidays building BMX tracks in the bush. We just handed out the band aids or provided the drive to the hospital when needed.
And it is these memories that drive our now middle-aged children home to Mount Cotton with predictable regularity.
Now, however, they bring baggage; baggage in the shape of grandkids: a fifteen-year-old and a two-year-old. Adult offspring, partners, grandkids and hangers-on have expanded the gatherings from four to ten plus. And they don’t just come for the campfire; they stay on for a couple of nights and the old house rocks again.
I recently attended a conference for U3A (University of the Third Age) – an international self-help education and learning group for seniors, with a chapter in Redlands. One of the speakers referred to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Age-Friendly Cities Framework. The gist of it was that we oldies benefit greatly from integrating with other age groups.
Those of us who watched the ABC’s Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds already knew that. We’d watched the smile on the face of an elderly gentleman as a four-year-old pushed him along a path saying “Come on. Come on.” Although at first reticent, these oldies had a ball and some distant spark in them was re-awakened.
I saw the same recently when the two-year-old did the same with granddad. Grandad is the favourite. That is because, much to the astonishment of his adult children, he never says “no” to the grandchildren.
After being educated by the WHO into the benefits that this intergenerational mayhem provides, I’m now happy when the two-year-old arrives and declares “I’m going to make a mess”, and proceeds to do so, or the fifteen-year-old “borrows” my make-up, never for it to be seen again. I now smile and think “according to the WHO, this is keeping me connected.”