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What Could Moving Into a Retirement Development Do For You? 

Gina Narramore

Gina Narramore



For retired retail manager, Marion Hughes and her late husband Edward, when it came to making the decision to downsize from their three bedroom home for 60 years in Edgware, they thought long and hard about it. 

But the thought of another winter on their own, was enough for Marion to say to Edward that it was the right time to move.

“It was an older property so it could get quite cold and draughty. It needed regular repair work to keep on top of it, and as Edward and I got older, we had begun to feel the chill much more than we used to. Health-wise we knew that it wasn’t going to be viable for us to stay there.”

But why a retirement development? For Marion she was surprised by what she saw.

“We didn’t know enough about them really”, says Marion. “We weren’t sure what this kind of set-up could do for us and we’d never actually been to see one.”

This all changed when a McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living Plus development named Randolph House began construction in nearby Harrow. The pair had spotted an advertisement and decided to pop along and view one of the show apartments.

“I fell in love with it almost immediately”, says Marion.

“It was mainly me pushing for us to move as I’ve always found men take a little longer to make a decision! We hadn’t needed to move for 60 years so the idea that we could have something from new again, that didn’t need any work and that was ready to move into was really appealing.

“On the one hand it was sad to be leaving the old house behind as it had such a place in our hearts and was one of the biggest achievements and investments of our lives. I think this is something a lot of people in a similar situation to we were, struggle with. It’s the feeling of letting go.

“However, it was the best decision we ever made. It presented a clean slate. An opportunity to turn the clock back, to go again and all the excitement of picking out décor and furniture to make a home your own. But more than that, it was a ready-made community. Somewhere we could feel supported and not so on our own.”

Marion and Edward went on to follow the progress of the development, even going on site in boots and hard hats to see for themselves how it was taking shape.

Marion continues: “We were taken to our very attractive apartment when it was complete and I was so thrilled. We took in the hallway, two-bedrooms and walk in wardrobe – I’ve always wanted a walk in wardrobe! The lounge with the south facing balcony – how wonderful to have a balcony, and the main bathroom with walk-in shower – so much easier to use than a big bath.”

To make their move even easier, the couple took advantage of McCarthy and Stone’s Part Exchange scheme. “It was an enormous amount of help”, Marion explained. “My husband was becoming unwell and had stopped driving. Going down the part exchange route meant the whole process was handled by McCarthy & Stone. As we hadn’t much experience of moving – well for a long time anyway, we didn’t want the bother of Estate Agents coming to our house, and so on.

“When we actually moved, it was seamless. We had help with packing, boxing, removals – McCarthy & Stone took care of the lot.”

Marion and Edward spent five months at Randolph House together, and enjoyed settling into their new lives and watching the community grow.

After Edward sadly passed away, Marion found enormous comfort and help within the Randolph House staff, residents and sales team, who supported her wholly throughout this difficult period.

Although upsetting adjusting to life on her own, Marion has praised all those at Randolph House who have helped her to make the most of everything on offer, and to feel as though she’s not alone.

She regularly gets involved with social activities at the development, including the weekly coffee morning, end of month meetings, bingo and the movie club.

The local library visits the development to share books with the homeowners. “My favourite author is Rosamond Pilcher”, she says. “I love her books – my favourites are Winter Solstice and The Shell Seekers.”

“All the events really make the development special”, says Marion.

“Had I have been at the old house when Edward passed away, I don’t think I would have coped. Being in such a warm community has given me strength. It’s given me a shoulder to cry on, it’s given me purpose and I’ve found comfort with those who have gone through something similar to me.”

The thought of moving to a retirement development was not one that had originally been on Marion and Edward’s mind, but now Marion says she wishes she’d done it ten years earlier.

What advice would she give to anyone else considering whether a retirement development is for them?

“Don’t hold back”, she says.

“Don’t leave it too late. Move while you can and while you can still enjoy the kind of lifestyle I am now. I missed out on so many years by staying in the old house, suffering the cold and just getting on with things. Had I of known what I know now, I wouldn’t have hesitated for a second and I know Edward would of done likewise.

“Go and see for yourself. Go and take a tour. You will be surprised by what you find!”

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