Living Life To The Full During Lockdown
When the country went into lockdown earlier this year due to COVID-19, many of us struggled to keep doing the things we enjoyed. However, lockdown was no match for the homeowners of McCarthy Stone’s Clarendon House Retirement Living development in Branksome Park, Poole, who found new ways to continue to live life to the full.
During this time, House Manager, Kelly-Ann Jelley, has tried to be creative to keep homeowners happy, as she explains: “We have such a wonderful and active community here at Clarendon House, so I wanted to make sure that lockdown didn’t get in the way of that spirit, and everyone still felt connected and happy.
“We’re really fortunate that our homeowners here have their own balcony, so, on VE Day, we wanted to do something special to celebrate and bring everyone closer together. We put bunting along the balconies, we had cream tea delivered to each apartment and played songs from the 1940s in the car park and garden. Everyone came out onto their balcony; it was a great way for them to see each other and enjoy themselves – we even had all the residents singing Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’!
“Although we’ve been unable to get together in the communal lounge, I’ve tried to find safe ways to organise small activities, such as collecting ‘take-aways’ for everyone to enjoy in their own apartments. I’ve also put out a few brain teasers and quizzes to help keep sprits up and keep people occupied.”
Gary Hills, 63, and his wife, Carol, 66, moved into a new apartment at Clarendon House in January, and are just two of the homeowners who feel very lucky to have been living at the development when the world was thrown into a global pandemic.
Gary says: “We decided to move to Clarendon House because we wanted to continue living our independent and active lifestyles, and spend time doing the things we enjoyed rather than worrying about the upkeep of a house and large garden. We wanted a place where we could interact with like-minded people and we knew moving to another apartment elsewhere wouldn’t necessarily offer that. We feel very grateful to have our own balcony and there is a large shared garden here at the development, so we have still been able to have socially distanced chats with each other throughout this difficult time and we haven’t felt isolated.
“We moved in just two months before lockdown, and although we know Poole pretty well, we hadn’t really explored the area around Clarendon House. I usually play bowls during the summer and winter, so when we were unable to get out and about it really was a strange experience for us. However, this did give us a good opportunity to discover what’s around us, and when we went on our daily walks, we were able to get to know our local area really well.
“I really can’t speak highly enough of Kelly and the team; they have been so very supportive throughout this challenging time. They have done so much for us - nothing has been too much trouble.”
In addition to ensuring the homeowners were kept happy throughout the lockdown period, Kelly and the team did everything they could to make sure they were also safe and well looked after. From delivering food, medicine and other supplies to those that were shielding and couldn’t get out and about, to checking-in on homeowners and offering them some company over the phone, they were always on hand to help.
Nicki Beswarick, Divisional Marketing Manager for McCarthy Stone Southern, comments: “Our first priority at McCarthy Stone is always the safety and wellbeing of our homeowners, so we wanted to make sure everyone at Clarendon House felt safe and supported, as well as helping our residents to continue to enjoy each other’s company where possible.
“Through uncertain times, our homeowners have shown just how resilient and strong they are, and never lost faith. We’re all really proud of everyone at Clarendon House.”
Fast forward to today, and Kelly is still finding ways she can keep her homeowners entertained in a safe way. She says: “We don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future, so our main priority right now is everyone here at Clarendon House. We want them to have something to look forward to, so we have organised some entertainment from one of our favourite singers, Dean Martin, to come and perform in both the garden and car park, so all of our homeowners can relax on their balconies and enjoy listening to some of their favourite music.”
With now over 80% of the apartments reserved or sold at the development, Clarendon House has proven to be a big hit with retirees who are keen to move to a seaside town, as well as explore the many benefits of downsizing.
McCarthy Stone’s Nicki Beswarick adds: “With many rules and restrictions coming back into force across the UK, some of our recent customers have decided that now is the time to move into a development such as Clarendon House, particularly as we don’t know what the future will hold.
“Homeowners at the development can take advantage of being a part of a friendly and welcoming community, whilst also maintaining their independence. Clarendon House also benefits from an attractive seaside location, so retirees are able to continue exploring their active lifestyle.”