What strikes me most as I walk around our incredible retirement village (there’s no doubt in my mind that ours is the best in the UK – and I think I’ve seen most of them) is the impact living here has on our residents’ wellbeing; many report an improvement in health and mood having moved here, in part, perhaps, relief at no longer being alone. So many of our residents are high-achieving individuals with richly varied histories, but they’ve all come to live here for very similar reasons.
- Loss of a partner or being single
Almost all our residents are widows and widowers, some recently bereaved, others many years ago. Often the loss of a partner after decades of marriage is the prompt to downsize and move somewhere with support. For long-term singles it’s the knowledge that they don’t have any immediate support at hand that makes them think about their future and how they might put that support in place. Moving to Lynwood instantly solves the problem of current and future care needs.
I’ve been saying this for years but it really is true; isolation can strike anyone at any time. Even if you have a hundred friends and a wonderful family, the time often comes when seeing anyone involves making formal arrangements, may include a journey that’s too long and often is simply all too much. Most of our residents say they experienced loneliness before moving here. Suddenly they found a week had gone by and they’d seen no-one. Weekends were especially hard, and bank holiday weekends were even worse. With a varied programme of events, activities and excursions plus casual get-togethers in the coffee shop, having people around to talk to is cited by many residents as one of the chief benefits of living here.
- To be nearer family
It gives me great pleasure to see families spending time together here – especially those who have moved here specifically to be closer to loved ones. One of our residents says he sees more of his grandchildren now than ever before. And, when it’s time for families to go home, they go happy in the knowledge that their loved ones are safe, with support on hand 24 hours a day. Having the café, restaurant, bowls and croquet (to name but a few of our facilities) onsite means it’s easy to entertain guests here, making visits varied and enjoyable.
- Garden is too much to manage
The joy of not having to mow the lawn or worry about the fence blowing down is almost palpable here. Even super keen gardeners find it a relief not to have to think about it any more. Gardening is physically tiring and at some point it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. All our properties here have balconies or gardens so if your green fingers are itching you can still grow things in pots.
- A house that has become unsuitable
Too big to clean, expensive to heat, no longer able to maintain the building and garden, steep drive, stairs – there are many reasons why the family home you loved for years suddenly makes daily life a struggle. Few houses are designed with older people in mind, still fewer for people with physical frailties. Lynwood Village is fully accessible with lifts to the upper floors and level thresholds throughout which makes life easier for all.
When it comes down to it, we all face the same challenges in later life. No matter who or what we were in our younger years, age is the great leveller. That’s why places like Lynwood are so important; to provide a supportive environment for older people that removes the stresses and strains of daily life, liberating residents and leaving them free to relax and enjoy their later years.