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Meet the mum and daughter in the same retirement community

When Linda and Roger moved into a McCarthy Stone development in Weston-super-Mare,  Linda’s widowed mother, Daphne already had an apartment below. Read more.

Daphne Greenway with daughter Linda Green
Friends and family
Posted 11 January 2024
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The friendly community inspires this family to stick together

Linda (68) and Roger (71) live on the floor above Daphne (89) in Fussells Court, an independent living community for the over 60s in this coastal town in the South West. And they couldn’t be happier with their set up.

Linda explains, “In 2012, my parents moved from Paignton to live nearer us in Weston Super Mare after my father was diagnosed with cancer. Having lived for over 30 years in a lovely bungalow in Paignton, my dad’s health was starting to decline, and it was the practical solution to make the move while they could.

“Importantly, dad wanted to ensure that mum wouldn’t ever feel isolated, so he was keen to get settled somewhere new with family nearby. Dad sadly passed away five months after moving into Fussells Court - just one month after they had celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary together.

Good advice – ‘don’t leave it too late’ to downsize

“With the development just minutes away from our house, we got to know other homeowners over time, and forged some great rapports – indeed, we count them as our friends today! Despite us being that bit younger at the time, many of them would tell us how they wished they’d made the move sooner to Fussells Court and would say ‘don’t leave it too late’ to move to a retirement development.

“These words of wisdom clearly struck a chord with us; Roger is a few years older than me but has suffered from ill health since he was in his mid-50s and took early retirement, whereas I only retired in 2014. Because of Roger’s health needs, many of the chores around our old house naturally need to fall to me, and with a big garden, it would take up a lot of time and energy. Rather than leaving things too late, we decided to eliminate unnecessary stress by downsizing while we could do it - and where better to move to than the same development as mum so that we could keep an eye on her too?”

All the benefits of moving closer to family - but no downsides

Linda explains, “Having seen how settled mum was at the development, it was a no-brainer to move into Fussells Court. For us, it’s all about the peace of mind you can get by living near each other. We wanted to still maintain that sense of being there for one another as a family unit, while also keeping a level of space and independence from one another, and this seemed like the perfect solution.

“While we do quite literally live on top of each other – in different apartments, on different floors - we have managed to create a fantastic balance and it doesn’t feel intrusive at all. I think that if we were all living in the same ‘traditional’ home together, that kind of set up would be far more challenging. It works well as we have our own front doors, but we’re there for one another and see mum daily, but don’t constantly live in each other’s pockets.

“Living in the same retirement development as your parent offers some all-important benefits that you can’t really put a financial value on. This includes reassurance, safety and security. If we lived in the same house together and went on holiday without mum, we’d be constantly worrying about her in case something happened. While she’s pretty fit and healthy for her age, we’d want to ensure she didn’t feel isolated and would need to arrange for someone to check on her. We’d also worry about strangers coming to the door and taking advantage of her.

“What’s brilliant about living in the same development is that we know that someone will look out for her if we’re not around, and this gives us great reassurance – whether that’s our lovely house manager, Sharon, or one of our friends calling in. Roger is also great at popping in to say hello and have a catch up if I’m out and about visiting friends or family.

“Some of the benefits are more tangible than others… for example, a while back mum had a fall in the night in her flat and didn’t have her phone with her to call for help. She managed to pull the emergency chord and I was alerted… rather than having to jump in the car and drive over, I could literally slip downstairs and check on her within a matter of minutes. This is a great benefit of living so near one another, and she gets real surety that we’re just moments away.

“By living in the same development as mum, we see each other daily. We’ll nip out to get the paper, and then drop by to say hello over a cuppa. We’ll cook for one another on a regular basis, and at least once a week, take a day trip somewhere. Although I only lived around the corner before, if we went out, I’d see her in, make sure she was OK and get back in the car to go home. Now we just back together and get settled in our own apartments.

“Another benefit is when we go shopping for food – we regularly make the most of buy one, get one free deals, and will share a lot of the items that we buy to minimise wastage. Some of our neighbours are green with envy as we even share the laundry chores – I do the washing, and mum does the ironing! This is a real added-bonus that plays to our strengths!”

Linda concludes, “Despite mum being in good health, we both get great peace of mind knowing that we are just upstairs should she need any support from us, and vice versa.”

Mum loves it too

Daphne adds, “I’m so lucky to have Linda and Roger living in the same development as me. It’s a great solution, and we’re very lucky to be able to spend time together on such a regular basis. I think it gets to a point in life where people do leave it too late, and then need extra support in their home. This gives us the best of both worlds – independent living, with a wonderful sense of support from family if you need it.

“Despite having lots of friends in Paignton, if I was still living in my bungalow there, I think that I’d have sometimes felt rather lonely and isolated without my husband’s company. It was located up a steep hill and wasn’t the easiest place to reach. The location of Fussells Court is fantastic and has all amenities you could need on the doorstep, so it ticks the boxes for us. Everything is on the flat, and there are so many shops that we can pop to together on the high street nearby. There’s also no need for a car as the bus service is brilliant. I can even go and get my hair done at the salon once a week!

“The sense of friendship and community spirit is fantastic here; I can chat to friends in the lounge when I want company and arrange to do things easily with them. But I also often do things with Linda and Roger, and what’s particularly lovely is that we have forged shared cross-generational friendship groups between us which is great. The youngest here is 66, and the oldest is 96, so there’s plenty to chat about together! What’s more, I know that Linda and Roger are on hand if I need to chat about any pressing personal needs or worries – for example, Roger deals with all my finances so that it’s one less thing to think about. Equally, it’s also lovely to be able to give them both guidance and advice when needed too. I wouldn’t change a thing – and know Linda and Roger feel the same.”

Thinking of moving closer to your friends or family?

While Fussells Court is sold out, you can find McCarthy Stone retirement villages up and down the country with a range of independent living or assisted living developments. Search for a property now or contact our friendly team by calling 0800 201 4811 or contact us via our online form. If you are looking for a retirement home for a friend or family member you can find useful advice on our hub.

 

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