Bringing the Family Closer In Audlem
“It was pure coincidence really”. Mother and daughter buy different properties across the road from each other in Audlem, Cheshire.
At the age of 80, you might think that living further away from children as they concentrate on raising families of their own is a rite of passage, but for Celia Vandersteen, she is now closer to her family than ever, after her daughter Julia, moved in just across the road from her.
Celia, moved into her brand new Retirement Living apartment at McCarthy Stone’s Lyme Wood Grange in Audlem in August, and within just a few days she was joined by her daughter Julia who moved into a new home on the very same housing development.
“It was pure coincidence really”, describes Celia. “I became aware of the new McCarthy Stone development in Audlem so my son and I went to see it. We were impressed by the modern décor and facilities, and the low maintenance living really appealed to me. We took a walk through the village and I think this is what sold it to me as it is such a lovely place.”
She continues: “I returned home to St Albans and waxed lyrical about it. Out of curiosity, Julia went online and discovered that Lyme Wood Grange was part of a larger housing development. To cut a long story short, I reserved my apartment just prior to the first lockdown. When restrictions were lifted, Julia found a house she wanted that just so happened to become available at the same time. We both put our houses on the market and the moves were made in double quick time, me on 11th August and Julia and her husband Andy, on 14th August.”
Julia comments: “The idea of having mum so close by was so that she could live her own life, but still feel supported. Well, that’s certainly been brought home this year.
“The old house was getting too much for her to manage on her own. It felt like the right time for her to move, and she has always wanted to be closer to family she just wasn’t ready to give up her independence.”
Mother and daughter began their relocation from St Albans, where they both lived, to Audlem, and Julia, following in her mother’s footsteps in more ways than one, made the decision herself to retire from her career as a University Administrator.
Julia comments: “It’s funny to think we’re both living out our retirement years at the same time, in the same place. Not many families get to say that!”
However Celia never imagined she would end up being neighbours with her daughter.
Celia comments: “At first, the idea was that we pooled our resources and bought a large house for us all to occupy but I like my own space too much”, she says.
“I suppose you could say this has provided the perfect solution.”
“It was like fate,” says Julia.
“When things eventually get back to normal, mum will be able to spend more time with the grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as having a new like-minded community at Lyme Wood Grange to get to know, socialise with and plan days out with”.
Celia adds: “I see Julia daily now on account of us only having to pop along the road. She and Andy will call in for a cup of coffee and stay a while, and I pop in on them from time to time too. Julia is super fit. She’s always off walking the dog, running around after grandchildren and like me has lots of personal interests.
“I am enjoying the novelty of having her so close by – I feel so lucky that things have fallen into place in the way they have.”
Celia’s son, Steve and wife Jane, are also nearby, living just 12 miles away.
With the current restrictions, Celia has been chatting over Zoom with her five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. “I have been known to take part in the odd Zoom quiz”, she says. “I love technology but I’m no expert, although I do like to think I’m good for my age!”
Celia says she is most looking forward to being able to take part in coffee mornings and social gatherings – one of the big draws for her when choosing Lyme Wood Grange, and to eventually meeting some of her fellow residents properly who she says have been “incredibly welcoming and friendly.”
Most of all she has been grateful for the love of her family, and while she hasn’t been able to see all of them as much as she’d like, she is comforted knowing they are never far away.
She says: “This virus has a powerful opponent – FAMILY. And it’s when we all wonder how much longer this situation will last that I’m reminded that this is one thing that will hold strong.”