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The clubs have been running for around 12 months now and the residents love them! In this blog, both ladies tell us a bit about why they started, how they came to live with us and a bit about themselves and their lives.
When and why did you move in?
Anne: “I moved in 2 years ago because my husband was quite poorly and I was still working. I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore’ – we were in a 4 bedroom detached house and I needed help. So, I thought ‘well what do I do?’ Then this flier came through the letter box – ‘Whiston Court Assisted Living’ – I thought ‘I’ve got to go and have a look at this’. So myself and my daughter-in-law came over to have a look around and it was lovely! Within two months, my husband and I had moved in, it’s a lovely place, it really is.
Unfortunately my husband only got to spend 4 months here before he had to move into a residential care home but I’m so glad we did it. For somebody who is on their own like I am now, it’s perfect, I can sit in my apartment and have time to myself or I can come down to the lounge to spend time with everybody and have a good chat!”
Betty: “I’ve been here for 3 years this summer, I came here because I couldn’t manage the stairs at my old apartment and there was no lift. I came and had a look and really loved it, it had everything I needed and more! You’ve got the best of both worlds here, your own space and company if you want it.”
You’ve got the best of both worlds here, your own space or company, if you want it.
Tell us about the social club!
Anne: “One of the home helpers here started hosting a St Patricks Night and everybody loved it. A fellow resident said ‘this is lovely, cant we do this once a month?’ and it got us thinking – Betty and I put out heads together and thought ‘alright come on, lets do this!’ We had a get together with everybody and asked them what else they’d like to do – it started with people bringing a bottle of wine and a packet of crisps, so we decided to start providing all the food and drink alongside the entertainment for a small charge of £5 per person.”
Betty: “We had a great turnout, I’d say 90% of the residents joined in!”
Anne: “Yes, and we’ve done it ever since! We’ve had a strawberries and ice cream party (the pimms went down a treat!), BBQs in the garden and games nights! We’ve been doing it for around 12 months now and after another get together last week everyone said they would like the club to keep running, which is great news!”
Betty: “I also arrange trips out for everyone alongside the social club we run together, just to the theatre or for afternoon tea. It’s nice for people to have those two options as there are some of us that can’t go, some that can and some that like to do a bit of both.”
What’s the best thing about living with Abbeyfield?
Betty: “I’d say companionship combined with freedom.”
Anne: “Yes, I agree. We were both worried it was going to be like a typical ‘old people’s home’ but it’s not, there are all types of people here. Some like to get involved in activities, some don’t and the beauty of it all is that you have the choice to do what you wish.”
Betty: “Yes, if you want a quiet evening in, you can. If you want to get together and socialise, you can do that too. That’s definitely one of the best things about living with Abbeyfield.”
The best thing about living with Abbeyfield is having companionship combined with freedom.
Do you both do a lot of your own cooking and live independently?
Betty: “I do a lot of my own cooking and then if I do like the sound of what’s on the menu that day, the chef will plate up the food for me so that I can warm it up that evening for dinner.”
Anne: “I go to see my husband everyday form 11am – 4pm so they plate up for me too! Otherwise I tend to cook for myself and do my own thing. It’s good as you can also have your relatives around for tea too, I often have my granddaughter here on Saturdays. I like to bake more than cook!”
Did you work before moving into Whiston Court?
Anne: “I still work now! I used to work at Tesco in customer service, then once I turned 65 I was ready to retire. About a month after I retired, a job came up in the home where my husband lives, so of course I went for it – and got it!
Now every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning I work at St Stevens, catering, giving the residents their breakfast, tea and coffee as well as doing a bit of ironing and cleaning – generally assisting around the home. I’m the only wife who gets paid to give her husband his breakfast!”
Betty – Somebody once said to me ‘why did you start doing it?' (referring to the social club and trips out) I said well, one of the best feelings is at the end of an evening or a trip out is when somebody says ‘Thank you, we’ve had a lovely time. When are we doing it again?’ and that’s exactly why I do it. Anne – Absolutely.
We'd like to say a huge thanks to both Betty and Anne for taking the time to speak to us about their Abbeyfield experience and the Social Club.
Keep up the great work ladies!