Afternoon tea parties and shopping trips - living the retirement high life

26 July 2017

From striding the catwalk and travelling the world, McCarthy and Stone homeowner Joan Young has always enjoyed living life to the full. The former model is delighted to make Constance Place in Knebworth her home, creating a new life rich in friendship and social fun. 

McCarthy and Stone’s Retirement Living developments are carefully designed to offer homeowners the very best in independent living within a safe and secure environment, with the opportunity to benefit from companionship when desired, as well as privacy when needed. 

83-year-old Joan moved to Constance Place in September 2016 from a spacious four-bedroom home in Oaklands, just six miles down the road. However, like many people her age, she decided it was time to downsize when the upkeep became a challenge, especially the large garden. Joan explains: “It’s a big move, I had a very nice house, but the garden was becoming a bit of a problem. I didn’t need to have so much space; I barely used the dining room and I sat in just one corner of the lounge. My initial concern about downsizing was the kitchen, I had a 20 foot kitchen which I loved, but actually, it’s surprised me, I got used to my smaller one very quickly.” 

“I stopped having dinner parties,” she adds jokingly, “I have afternoon tea parties now instead and that suits me just fine!” 

Joan took advantage of McCarthy and Stone’s part exchange offer at Constance Place, which provides homeowners with a hassle free option when moving; eliminating worries of selling their home, getting caught in a chain or dealing with Estate Agents. 

Talking about her new life, Joan continues: “I really enjoy living here, everyone is so friendly. I love my apartment, the sun streams through the windows, it’s very light and cosy. It’s fantastic having such lovely neighbours too. The part exchange scheme made my life a lot easier, it was a very big upheaval, I’m not sure I would, or could, have done it without the help I received from McCarthy and Stone.” 

The former model, who walked the catwalk for Junex of Sweden during her twenties and travelled the world with her late husband, still has a sharp eye for fashion. Joan explains: “I have a lot of fun going around charity shops, that’s a hobby of mine, I get absolute bargains. I almost run past them nowadays, otherwise I will definitely buy something. I love fashion, I still love seeing what’s in the shops. I like to go shopping with my daughter and friends to Welwyn Garden City or St Albans.” 

Idyllically situated in the picturesque village of Knebworth, the award-winning Retirement Living development comprises a stylish mix of one and two bedroom apartments. Designed exclusively for the over 60s, Constance Place provides everything homeowners could want for a relaxing and enjoyable retirement. 

“I have been a widow now for about seven and a half years, after being very happily married for fifty five. That’s what’s so beautiful about living here. I feel very, very safe in my apartment. 

“I broke my ankle within three weeks of moving into Constance Place. McCarthy and Stone sent an ambulance, they looked after me amazingly.  I’d cracked my ankle in two places, I needed help and had to go straight to hospital. The other homeowners were very sweet, checking on me afterwards to see if I was okay. If I had fallen at my old home I could have been there on my own for 48 hours, I felt so lucky to be where I was.” 

Understanding the importance of companionship in later years McCarthy and Stone organise over 40,000 social activities every year for their homeowners up and down the country, with at least three organised activities per development each week. 

Joan comments: “One of the highlights for me has been meeting fellow homeowners. This was not something I expected. I thought I’d keep to myself, but everyone is really nice, we are good friends. We have tea parties and coffee mornings together, there’s a knitting group and painting class once a week. On a Friday we have a film night in the Club Lounge, with wine and nibbles. We have a good laugh, and that’s what it’s all about!

“I still exercise every day, I do a Pilates routine in my apartment every morning. There is a fitness class on a Tuesday in the Club Lounge, a lot of the ladies go. I also belong to the Women’s Institute, five of my friends from here have joined our local Women’s Institute group too.” 

Having enjoyed phenomenal success since its launch, there is just one two-bedroom apartment now remaining at Constance Place, priced at £399,950. 

Talking about her new lifestyle, Joan concludes: “For anyone thinking about making the move to Retirement Living I say, ‘just go for it!’. It takes courage to downsize, it is a big move, but it’s fabulous. I did think, ‘am I doing the right thing?’, but it’s worked out amazingly, I am delighted! I am really happy here and would recommend it to others. I have several friends who are a bit shy, so the idea of living somewhere like this makes them feel nervous. But everyone here is so nice, it’s lovely. It’s very companionable. However, it’s whatever you want to make it, you can be private too if that suits you.” 

For further information about the remaining Retirement Living apartment at Constance Place, call 0800 201 4811 or click here.

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