Ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, we thought we would ask some of our homeowners to reflect on the last 70 years of their own lives and to share their advice for making the most of retirement.
Spend your time doing things you enjoy
John and Jean, who met in 1959, three years after John had won a cycling bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics, believe in making the most of their free time. Now, they enjoy the occasional cycle ride together, Jean goes swimming and enjoys Chi Ball (T’ai Chi with a bit of Pilates and a bit of Yoga) and they regularly host friends and family in the restaurant and coffee lounge at The Sailings, the retirement community they moved to in November 2019.
Before the move, they were both feeling worn out by the upkeep of their family home.
“We were living in a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house and it was just getting too much for Jean” says John, now 85.
“I couldn’t do much and she was doing all the work. She didn’t realise but she would come in of a night and she was exhausted.”
When the couple painted the exterior of their house, two years before they moved, it had cost them a huge sum due to the size of the house and the scaffolding required. Even the indoor cleaning was hard to maintain with high ceilings. The maintenance of the house and garden was becoming a full-time job for Jean and left her with no time or energy to do anything else. She said: “I didn’t want to be tied to the house. I wanted to go out and do things.”
John added: “It’s better for both of us here. I can go cycling. Jean can walk to the shops, use her bike and go for a ride if she wants to, and we have plenty of friends here. We should have moved years ago.”
Maintain your independence
Originally from Denton in Greater Manchester, Anne gained a Degree in Physics at UCL and enjoyed an electrical engineering career with the Research Department at Metropolitan-Vickers. Later she edited an international journal of electrical engineering education at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) from 1975 to 1998.
In 1985 Anne and her husband Alan moved to Eyam.
“I spent 35 very happy years there with a big garden, hens to look after and when Alan was well, we did lots of travelling. We loved visiting Greece. I could go for walks and Alan was always very happy chatting with the locals outside the taverna, in fact he learnt quite a bit of Greek. Sadly, Alan died seven years ago after a few years suffering from Alzheimer’s.”
Anne continued to live in their family home in Eyam before deciding to move to Jacobs Gate in Sheffield in December 2020.
“I managed on my own for quite a while, but I wanted to take charge of my life. I could have moved in with one of my children, but it would have become a matter of Grandma sitting on the settee and waiting for things to happen…and I’m not quite ready for that. I’m not sure I ever will be! I wanted to keep my independence and also to keep my relationship with my children a happy one, which it is. Now we enjoy the time that we spend together.”
Make practical plans to future-proof your retirement
Joyce spent the early part of her retirement enjoying travelling with her husband Peter:
“We went all over the place: South America, the Galapagos Islands, India, Australia, New Zealand, China. We went Gorilla trekking in Rwanda: we camped by Lake Victoria in Tanzania and crossed into Rwanda. Our guides cut a path with machetes to a clearing and we saw a great big Silverback. It was the most incredible experience.”
Sadly, in 2008 Joyce’s husband Peter died.
“I carried on in the bungalow because it was so convenient, but I think it’s important that you recognise the signs when you are aging. When you are slowing down and things become difficult, it’s important to move before that. Otherwise, you can get beyond moving.
Coming from a medical background, Joyce has always been very practical about potentially needing additional care at some point in the future.
“I faced the fact that this is the last move of my life. I’m fortunate in that I can pay for long term care if I need it. Having experienced how my husband went downhill so quickly, I looked into the care options when I chose to move here. I think that is paramount in any older person’s life now. It was very important to me that I can move in now, when I don’t need any care or additional support, but it’s available if there is a time when I need that.
“I think the overriding point that I would like to make is not to leave it too late. To do it whilst you’re able. No matter what stage of life, moving to a retirement living community will be a major decision. Our parents were always saving for a rainy day. The most important thing is to recognise your rainy day!”
Enjoy being part of a thriving community
Joan and her husband Bill moved to The Chimes in December 2019.
“The best bits about living here are you’ve got people on hand. Every corner you turn, there’s a chance of a good gossip. I love the coffee lounge. The free coffee machine attracts people, and you’ve immediately got a group chatting together.
“A book club was established before we got here so I joined that straight away. We have quizzes, bingo, theatre visits and restaurant visits. We went to the cinema when the operas were live streamed from Covent Garden and The Met. That sort of thing happens – ‘Oh, we’re going to the opera, do you want to come?’. That’s what life’s about isn’t it, enjoying yourself.
“Here, you can have your privacy. You have your own apartment. You can stay there whenever you want to and you can be on your own… but you also have the alternative, if you want it. You’ve got lots of people around, lots of activities, lots of fun. I think having that choice is such a big thing and you can have one choice one day and the other choice the next day. It’s a perfect situation. I can highly recommend it!”
Do as much or as little gardening as you like
Set in idyllic locations, with pretty, waterside settings and stunning countryside views, Adlington Retirement Living communities offer beautifully landscaped gardens and most of our apartments come with private patios or walk-out balconies.
Margaret, who lives at The Cottons and is a member of the gardening club, said: “I have always enjoyed gardening, but my previous garden became too much for me. Now I have a small plot on the raised beds which I can manage easily. This gives me an interest, some exercise and gets me outside meeting other like-minded people, and of course we enjoy the end product such as peas, beans, carrots, potatoes and beetroot.”
Joan adds: “I have an apartment with a lovely garden in front of it which the gardener comes and manages but I can put my little cyclamen blubs in. We go around dead-heading, but we haven’t got that major responsibility anymore. You know, you can back off if you don’t feel like it today, you haven’t got to do it and that’s lovely. When our friends are still digging away and the weeds are still growing, we’ve got our Josh who comes and takes up all the weeds or blows the leaves away. That’s brilliant!
Come and see for yourself
Adlington offers a new perspective in retirement living. The inspiration behind our communities is simple: to create spaces that make everyday life easier, safer and more enjoyable.
Our approach to retirement living offers a breath of fresh air.
If you would like to find out more about Adlington Retirement Living, the marketing suite is now open at The Sidings in Lytham, and a range of beautifully furnished show apartments are open to view Monday to Saturday at The Woodlands in Heaton Mersey, Jacobs Gate in Sheffield, The Sailings in Southport, The Folds in Romiley and The Cottons in Ramsbottom from 10am to 5pm. Call 0800 118 1694 to find out more or visit Adlington.co.uk.