Renting in Retirement Proves a Genius Idea for Genie

Here we speak to Trudi Chatwin, daughter of Eugene Roberts who rents her apartment at Williams Place, about why renting was the best option for her mother.

Eugene Roberts, 87, aka ‘Genie’, lived in her large family home in Whitchurch-on-Thames for 58 years. Fiercely independent, she worked from home as the Financial Director of the family engineering business until the age of 71, preferring to keep herself to herself. “Her home was her castle”, says Genie’s daughter Trudi.

“I began to become concerned that mummy was no longer managing on her own. Her mobility had worsened and the stairs were a struggle for her. She was too well to be spending time sitting in a care home, but I felt as though she needed the security of being somewhere surrounded by people, so if she did need any extra support it was there.”

Genie moved into Williams Place, a Retirement Living Plus development in Didcot, where she was able to rent an apartment and which meant she didn’t have to sell the family home.

“Rental was a great ‘try before you buy’ option for mummy. It meant she could experience what life was like there without committing to it fully. It was a big upheaval for her so knowing she could go back whenever she liked made it a lot easier.”

Since moving to Williams Place, Genie has regular support with cleaning. She visits the in-house hairdresser once per week, and eats most days in the development restaurant.

“She’s really come out of her shell”, says Trudi. “The companionship has been great for her confidence, and knowing she gets a regular meal each day is real peace of mind, as she would struggle to stand for the length of time needed to cook for herself.

“There’s a 24-hour call system in case of emergency, so if she was to get into difficulty I know that she would be taken care of, and the apartment has been specifically designed to be low maintenance and adapted with an older person in mind.”

She continues: “Long-term the move was about making her feel more secure. I think she needed to feel this and she’s surprised herself with how much of a difference it has made. I don’t think she’d ever go back to the old house now. She considers Williams Place home.”

Genie and Trudi plan to continue renting her apartment at Williams Place with an eye to selling her old property in the future, but due to the flexibility that renting affords are taking their time.

“Renting takes the pressure off”, says Trudi. “Mummy has settled in really well which we’re so pleased about. I think selling the family home and having to clear out 58 years of belongings would have been too much for us all to process at the time. This way, mummy has been eased into the change at her own pace, and now that she’s seen how much better off she is there, will find letting go of the old house so much easier.”