Liam Metcalfe, Head of Retirement Homesearch

While the UK lockdown may be easing, there’s no getting away from the impact staying at home for a prolonged period of time has had on people, retirement communities included.

During the lockdown, some retirees had to spend more time alone than they usually would. While others had to make significant changes to their everyday routine. Almost everybody experienced some form of change as they adapted to the new ‘norm.’

For residents living at developments belonging to our parent company, FirstPort, it was a combination of innovation, determination, perseverance, staying busy and supporting each other that saw them through the crisis.

The stories of how people came together are as heart-warming and as they are inspiring. There are so many examples of how residents and staff have been Everyday Heroes during the last few months. Let’s take a look at some of the examples:

Bernie from Manaton Court

The 71-year-old had an active social life before lockdown and frequently attended the local bowling club. But with lockdown temporarily closing the club, Bernie (pictured above) decided to use his spare time to focus on getting fitter.

“When lockdown was first announced I decided I wanted to keep myself busy,” he explains.

“I spent so much time at the bowling club, people joked I should start paying them rent and with the club being closed, I didn’t want to sit and mope.”

Three months into the lockdown, Bernie had lost over two and-a-half stone. His lockdown regime involved spending two hours a day on his exercise bike, which by all accounts he has nearly worn out, coupled with a long daily walk (always maintaining social distancing measures) when he needed a break from saddle soreness.

Amongst all of the exercise, Bernie also found the time to help his fellow residents and be a friendly neighbour to keep people’s spirits high.

Bernie concludes: “I turned a challenging situation into a positive one by focusing my efforts on getting fit and helping my fellow residents, many of whom were finding lockdown very challenging. We live in a supportive community and I was pleased to help other people, as well as make a big change to my own health and wellbeing.”

Supportive Development Managers

Lots of FirstPort’s Development Managers who stayed on site to support residents throughout lockdown had some really creative ways of entertaining everybody, despite the social distancing rules.

Julia from Saxon Court read poetry and held regular sing-a-longs over the intercom.

Lesley from Homecroft House and Cathy from Priory Lodge delivered freshly-baked scones to residents to keep their spirits up – on one occasion, they delivered 140 in a day!

Suzanne from Penn Court hosted Tunes at Noon sessions come rain or shine. She took the speakers outside and played feel-good songs. Many residents joined her for a socially-distanced dance and those who were self-isolating waved out of their windows.

Sarah from Homepoint House made a kindness board with friendship slips for residents to post through the doors of somebody they would like to chat to with their phone number on.

Katie from Homefarris House started a sunflower growing competition. Some residents planted seeds in areas where those who were isolating could enjoy them from their windows.

The lockdown impacted us all. But it’s kind-hearted actions, like those listed above, that helped make it that little bit easier for people to get through, building stronger communities in the process.

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

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