From Committee Member to Resident

Marjorie Fagg, an 89-year-old ex-committee member turned resident at Speedwell Court dementia-friendly care home in Southampton, shares her journey to living with Abbeyfield.

In the beginning

“I lived on the Isle of Wight for many years, while my children lived on the mainland. After my husband passed away, if I had a fall or an accident, they would have to come along way to look after and make any necessary arrangements. I promised them that if I got to the stage where it became a regular occurrence that I would move back to the mainland, to somewhere where I would receive the care I need. That eventually happened, so I kept my promise and moved back to Southampton."

Finding home at Abbeyfield

“One reason I chose Speedwell Court as my next home was down to my previous association with Abbeyfield. While living on the Isle of Wight I was on the committee of one of the houses run by the Abbeyfield Shanklin Society, the first of its kind to open on the island.

“My husband, Alec, was a member of the Rotary Club in Shanklin and a local council accountant by trade. He was asked to join Abbeyfield Shaklin as the Treasurer by another Rotary member, to which he agreed. I was a member of Inner Wheel (the sister organisation of Rotary) and one of my friends was on the committee of the other Shanklin house, so I had double the pressure to get involved as well! I held a secretarial role, taking minutes at meetings and the like.

“I especially like the ethos of the organisation. Having experienced it from a committee position, I can appreciate the values and what it is trying to achieve. I had the good fortune to meet Richard Carr-Gomm at an anniversary event we held at the house. He was a very pleasant man, and I was inspired by the story of how he set Abbeyfield up.

“I was, therefore, very familiar with Abbeyfield before I moved in. After doing their research, my children and I agreed that Speedwell Court was the best option available to me. Now I’m within spitting distance of my family – I have three children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and I always look forward to when they visit.

“I am pleased to say that the care Richard Carr-Gomm and Abbeyfield demonstrated back then remains at the heart of the organisation today. His original values are still prevalent, and I can feel how important they are as a resident now."

Life at Speedwell Court

“They look after me wonderfully well here – and not just me, but everybody else too! There is an awful lot of choice of activities to get involved in. I especially enjoy the quizzes and I go to the church services. It’s good to have that sense of being part of a community. You don’t have to take part in everything, but there are always opportunities available to you and the peace of mind of knowing the support is there should you need it. I don’t like to socialise all the time – I am often perfectly happy on my own, so having the option of privacy as well is incredibly important to me.

The food is also very nice here. You can’t expect Cordon Bleu from a care home, but it’s a very good standard nonetheless. There’s a lot of variety on the menu, and if there’s something I don’t like they will always make me something else.

“The staff are excellent, they help me as much as they can and I consider many of them my friends. They also let me do what I can independently, while I still can. It’s important to keep doing things for myself and get around on my own, and it’s enough just to have someone keeping an eye on me to make sure I don’t fall over."

89 Years Young

“I don’t know what the secret is to living to 89. I still get to have my glass of wine every night, maybe that helps! I’ve lived through a world war, a cold war, various recessions, and I’ve learned it’s just a case of getting on with it to make it through. I’ve decided I have a long way to go yet!”