It’s nearly eight months now since our first residents moved in. As we edge into 2016, with our homes filling up and phase two of the development well underway, now seems like a good time to reflect on what I’ve found most surprising about Lynwood Village. I had certain expectations of what village life would be like, but the reality has been rather different.
A restaurant to be proud of
When we were building Lynwood Village we visited and spoke to other retirement villages throughout the UK. They all said that running an onsite restaurant all day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) wouldn’t be viable, but our restaurant, Prescott’s, has proved them all wrong. Our Sunday lunch is so popular we welcome up to 70 people every week. Residents invite family and friends and we’re joined by people from the local community; you have to book to ensure your table!
Day to day, Prescott’s does such a fantastic job providing delicious food that, purely by word of mouth, we have locals coming in to enjoy meals here. Few people would consider the local retirement village as the latest restaurant hotspot but our food is so good that’s exactly what is happening. Our residents enjoy a discount on menu prices so, if they don’t feel like cooking, there’s always a nutritious, freshly cooked meal available on their doorstep.
Somebody to lean on
Lynwood was designed to make life easier for people in their later years. Our homes are designed specifically for older people and we provide in-home care as required. What we didn’t realise was just how much support residents who are generally fit and well, with no specific health issues, would need. Our concierge and home care teams are here to support all our residents and they are kept busy every day. It makes me realise that it’s not just our wonderful facilities that draw people here, it’s the wraparound care and the comforting presence of our staff who are always on hand to help. Our Home Care team, which we expected to grow slowly after a year or so, has also grown far more rapidly than we anticipated, providing onsite care to residents and out in the local community. It really brings home what a struggle life must be for older people living alone in houses that aren’t right for them any more.
You’ve got a friend
One of the nicest surprises about the village is seeing how people flourish when they move here. The impact is most noticeable in people who were living alone before. Suddenly there are people around to talk to, places to be and outings to join, all of which gives them a new lease of life. It’s amazing to see the rejuvenating effect of the balance class in the hydrotherapy pool, or sessions with the physiotherapy team and in the gym with our personal trainer.
Seeing friendships develop between residents is also truly heart warming. We have groups of friends setting up bridge clubs, a choir and a residents’ association, supported by our wellness team. There’s no arm-twisting going on, residents are just getting involved and making the village what they want it to be. It’s a tremendously supportive community of like-minded people who are looking out for each other.
We were always convinced of the need for a place like Lynwood Village. What we’ve discovered since opening is that this welcoming community really does improve people’s quality of life, in ways we weren’t expecting. Having a great (and affordable) restaurant on your doorstep, help at hand and friends to spend time with can make our later years some of our most enjoyable.