Liam Metcalfe, Head of Retirement Homesearch

In our monthly articles with Fifty Plus we’ve explored the benefits of independent retirement living developments and looked at the positive contributions it’s had on the retirees who have made the move. In recent months, we’ve been so heartened to see the many benefits of retirement living we’ve talked about being realised through these challenging times.

Seeing the positive impact these communities can offer has certainly sparked an interest for many who had never previously considered retirement living as an option. It’s also confirmed to those who are living in a retirement development why they made the move in the first place.

Safety at the heart
You might have seen independent retirement properties in the news over the last few weeks, referencing how they have been much safer during the COVID-19 lockdown, with significantly fewer residents passing away compared to the general over 65’s population.

Every loss is felt deeply by everyone in retirement communities and a personal tragedy for family and friends but, in the context of the many news stories about care homes, it’s an important contrast to see that retirement living developments have proved much safer during this pandemic period than either care homes or even the general retired population.

At the developments we market – managed by our sister company, FirstPort – early action was taken to support our retirement residents well ahead of the UK lockdown announcement, with enhanced cleaning protocols, restrictions on communal lounges and visitors and laundry room rotas to name just a few.

A supportive environment
We know just how important the support of a Development Manager can be to those who live in retirement communities, particularly through lockdown. They have been on-hand to provide guidance to residents who are struggling during self-isolation with a friendly ear, and support with things like online shopping and access to local services.

At Jubilee Court, Development Manager Sondra has been called a ”shining light through a dark period” by her residents. She has been actively keeping spirits high with initiatives including singalongs and fish and chip nights – all while socially distanced, of course. Residents at Tylers Ride have also praised their Development Manager, Tracey for helping to make sure those who are self-isolating have access to food supplies and medicines through lockdown. One resident said: “Tracey has once again proved she is a diamond…I would like to thank her for her wonderful way with people and for helping us all.”

It’s not just residents who value this support, our Development Manager, Suzanne from Bucklers Court received a letter from a resident’s relatives all the way from Canada. They wrote to thank her for all her efforts during the pandemic to keep residents safe and happy. They said that knowing she’s there makes being so far away much easier.

Supporting wellbeing
At retirement developments managed by FirstPort, residents have been provided with weekly entertainment pack including puzzles, crosswords, adult colouring sheets and recipes to help beat the boredom. Every week, Development Managers have been popping these packs under the door of any of their residents who may find them useful to help keep them entertained while they’re spending more time at home.

These have received many compliments from residents and their families on how our activities and updates are really helping them to stay positive, one resident commented: “There are plenty of self-isolating weekly puzzles and word searches, and more or less daily up to date news. If I am going to have to be isolated better to be here with everyone in same situation”.

If you would like to find out more about independent retirement living properties, you can visit: www.retirementhomesearch.co.uk.

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