‘Smile and the world smiles with you’ … and true to that saying it was the smiles of residents that first attracted Kay Sherley to her new home at GemLife Bribie Island.
“When I first visited the resort, everyone was smiling. It was such a happy place and I needed that in my life desperately. That was my first impression and it really appealed to me,” she said.
After losing her husband of 30 years to cancer eight months ago, Kay was struggling to get through each day but then she discovered GemLife Bribie Island and suddenly the doors opened to new friendships and experiences.
Kay, who is in her early 70s, said moving into the resort and into a street that had the same name as her mother, combined with friendships she made within the first few days of arriving, literally `changed her life’.
“I was in a really dark place when I first moved in and didn’t even know how I would go about meeting new people because I always had my husband with me and now, for the first time, I was alone,” said Kay.
That changed very quickly thanks to neighbours like New Zealanders Rob and Pauline Bower who immediately reached out and welcomed her into the fold.
“I met Rob after advertising for someone to help me install some new shelving and do a few other odd jobs around this beautiful new home of mine when I first moved in, and he introduced me to his wife Pauline. Both were from New Zealand where I originally came from before moving to Australia in 1986.”
The New Zealand connection was a great way to build new friendships as there was a fun group of resident Kiwi singles and couples who met regularly and enjoyed traditional celebrations and events, with one of the more recent being a h?ngi.
Kay’s first outing with the group which calls itself the Kiwi Gems, was at a poolside lunch, and its members have since become `like family’ to her.
The group is spread throughout the resort and Kay has become a regular at their functions and get-togethers saying she no longer feels scared of going out on her own and enjoys a very active social life.
“I have realised that as you get older you can’t just hide away, you have to live life and GemLife is the ideal place to do that because of the beautiful people and huge range of activities virtually on our doorstep,” said Kay.
“The best thing I have ever done in my life is to come here. It didn’t take me long at all to feel a part of this community and I am surrounded by friends wherever I go who care about me and invite me to lots of outings and activities. I feel so happy and contented and have told all my friends and relatives, including the ones in New Zealand, all about it.”