A Florida retirement community is hiding a ‘grim’ truth in its ‘paradise’ neighborhood

The Villages is a sprawling development for the over-55s in Central Florida, where residents sip cocktails with neighbors, live in homes with manicured lawns, and travel on golf carts.

Video loading

Video unavailable

The Villages: Florida community explored in documentary trailer

A Florida retirement community is said to be hiding a “grim” truth in its “paradise” neighborhood that has been compared to The Truman Show.

The Villages is a sprawling development for the over-55s in Central Florida, where residents sip cocktails with neighbors, live in homes with manicured lawns, and drive to the Market Square in their golf carts. golf.

Cheerful music can be heard on the loudspeakers to promote positivity and to keep this energy going, ambulances are said to have turned off their sirens and funeral cars are unmarked.

It has its own newspaper and radio station, which are run by the community leadership and only cover the positives.

Well-manicured lawns carry signs warning residents to keep children and pets away while they’re pumped with chemicals — to keep them looking immaculate.







An aerial view of The Villages retirement community in central Florida
(

Picture:

X02452)


The Villages has 54 golf courses, 70 swimming pools and 3,000 social clubs.

But America’s largest retirement community has sparked controversy among residents who live in the same area outside the neighborhood.

It is understood that 150,500 people – known as villagers – live in the 81 “villages”, just an hour north of Orlando.

The Schwartz family who developed the estate are now billionaires.

Valerie Blankenbyl, who spent time living in the community while filming her documentary ‘The Bubble’, told news.com.au: “The Villages is a place so honed to perfection that it can’t maintaining this perfection is simply not possible.”

The bubble was screened at the Sydney Antenna film festival this week as Valerie compared the community to The Truman Show.







America’s largest retirement community has sparked controversy among residents who live in the same area outside the neighborhood
(

Picture:

Catpics)


The Truman Show stars actor Jim Carrey and is about a man who gets trapped in a perfect town that turns out to be fake and made up of actors.

Valerie also said most villagers wouldn’t hear anything negative about their community, which is promoted as an “active retirement community”.

Daily programs are filled with lunchtime karaoke, cardio drumming, belly dancing and cheerleading lessons, and even synchronized golf cart displays.

Valerie also says that their days are filled with a lot of alcohol.







The Villages has 54 golf courses, 70 swimming pools and 3,000 social clubs
(

Picture:

X02452)


In the documentary, a resident tells his wife “happy whatever the day” as he drinks a cocktail on his veranda.

The filmmaker also said that the locals she met were friendly.

One of them is quoted in the film as saying, “We know we’re in a bubble. But it’s a nice bubble.”

However, development aside, critics say there’s something “sinister” about its idyllic appearance.

As soon as you leave the development you can see local opposition, it’s hard to escape it.







Villages encourage health and positivity and fulfill their activity programs (stock image)
(

Picture:

Getty Images/Image Mix)


Valerie said: “It wasn’t something you could get away from because as soon as you walked through the doors you see all these signs saying ‘Stop the Villages’.”

People who live nearby have raised concerns about their lack of accountability and apparent encroachment on established communities.

Valerie said: “You kept hearing inside the Villages that there was nothing before where the Villages are now.

“But there was nothing. There was a community there and that was where people congregated and now it’s all gone.







This “paradise” suburb in central Florida has a population of 150,500
(

Picture:

Catpics)


Activists against the community say villages are using the massive amount of water to keep lawns green and swimming pools filled, and claim the development has lowered the water table and caused shortages and sinkholes.

One of the biggest thorns of all for outsiders is how the management company tries to separate it from its neighbors.

The owners have installed boom gates on the roads leading to the development giving it the appearance of being gated.

However, it is on public land and locals have been duped for years into thinking they weren’t allowed to enter.

Valerie also said management tried to get their film crew to leave and prevent residents from talking to them.

She added that many villagers were unaware of the controversy or didn’t care about life outside the bubble – and instead focused on staying positive and cheerful.

Valerie says an academic who studies aging told her it’s one of the most troubling aspects of living in The Villages.

She said: “She thought The Villages was the most aging place in the world.

“Because even in a place full of old people, you have no right to be old or elderly.

“You should always be fit, young, beautiful and healthy.

“And sickness, death and death are not among them.

“It’s kind of like an extreme form of ageism that showed up in a retirement community.”

The management company has been approached for comment.

Read more

Read more

Comments are closed.