The death of an 89-year-old woman in a Victorian retirement village, where her body may have lain undiscovered for more than a week, serves as a reminder to all of us of the importance of looking out for our neighbours.

To die alone and undiscovered, as in this very sad case, must be one of the worst fates imaginable, and is one of the most unfortunate aspects of leading a socially isolated life.

Police found the woman’s body at Abervale Retirement Village, which is owned by Lendlease, when her neighbour raised the alarm. An external care worker came to see the woman, but no one had answered the door.

The last known sighting of the woman was 10 days before her body was discovered, according to reports, but it’s unknown exactly when she died.

While the village does provide care services to some residents at Abervale, the woman in question organised her own care with an external provider.

Tony Randello, Managing Director, Retirement Living, Lendlease, said, “We’re saddened by the passing of one of our residents at Abervale Retirement Village.

“While Abervale is a close knit community, many of our 250 residents choose to live very independent lives.”

He said that all units at Abervale are fitted with an emergency call button system for immediate response.

The matter will be investigated by the Coroner

News Corporation publications have reported that the woman’s death will be investigated by the Victorian Coroner, which will aim to establish the cause of death and a timeline of events.

HelloCare reached out to the Victorian Coroner’s office to confirm the inquiry, but at the time of writing had not yet received confirmation.

We all have a responsibility to look out for our neighbours

For many of us, to die alone and without the world around us even noticing would be the saddest passing imaginable.

For those who have no friends or family nearby, neighbours can be a key link to society and one of few ways out of isolation.

But for so many of us, with busy lives – full with work, family, and friends – it can be all too easy to overlook a quiet or withdrawn member of our community.

Simply knocking on someone’s door if you haven’t seen them for a while could be enough to save a life.

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