Living their best lives – Deidre Iles

After living in London for 47 years, resident Deirdre Iles, 70, made the move to Durrants Village, in West Sussex. Deirdre is enjoying living closer to her daughter and being part of the supportive and sociable community at Durrants. 

“I used to live in Wimbledon with my husband, Cliff, while my three children all lived locally. But one by one the children moved away. About three-and-a-half years ago, my daughter Lorna moved to Horsham, West Sussex. My husband had dementia, so we realised it wasn’t a good thing for me to be left on my own.

Lorna found Durrants Village and we fell in love with it. We felt it offered a lot, including companionship and support, and the social life also appealed because that was what I needed. I liked that there were so many clubs, outings and things going on. So, if I were on my own, I’d still be ok and supported by people.

Sadly, my husband died in 2019, before I moved to Durrants, and there has been a lockdown for a lot of the time since I came here. But I’m enjoying it here and I’ve never regretted the move. I can phone reception and ask them anything; they’re all very good. And if I don’t want to cook, I can get a meal.

I’m missing being able to go out and join with people, but if I go for a walk, everyone says hello, and there’s always a conversation somewhere. I’m really looking forward to when the clubs are up and running again, though.

It was lovely last summer. The back of my house is open towards a grass meadow area and a lot of people walk along there, so I’ve spoken to quite a few people who are out on a walk, while socially distancing, of course. I could sit there in the sunshine and talk to people. And all the staff at Durrants are very good. They’re interested in you, which is lovely.

I live in a cottage at Durrants. When I was in London, I lived in a detached three-bedroom house, by Wimbledon Common. The house was beautiful, but it was absolutely for the best that I moved to where I am now. It had to be something really special to make me move – and what I have at Durrants is special, because it offers more. I also feel safer here -  I’ve not felt anxious since I came here, because there are people around. It’s a safe environment.

The important things for me now are family, being able to socialise with people, and making friendships. I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy my time properly at Durrants, for example going on trips. I’m hoping to join clubs at Durrants and make friends. I want to be able to meet up with people for coffee. I’m looking forward to using the restaurant and being able to take my family there, too. I’m also looking forward to coffee mornings at the clubhouse and quizzes, and things like that.

At the moment, you only pass people, but my next-door neighbour here has been very good. He phones me up every now and again to check I’m ok.

In London, I only had one neighbour, who was a bit of a way away, so I didn’t have neighbours as such. But here at Durrants, I know all the people in my cul-de-sac, and they’re all so friendly. I feel more supported here, and I feel safer than at my previous home.”

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