Jon, 88 has made a whole host of new friends since moving to Gifford Lea and says the safe community at the village has transformed his life and helped him to feel less lonely. His daughter, Annie warns of the loneliness epidemic amongst the older generation and says environments like Gifford Lea are enormously supportive in making sure older people realise they are valued.
“I first heard about the village when my daughter, Annie, was taken around another Inspired village (Austin Heath in Warwick) and liked it very much, so told me about Gifford Lea and we came here together and decided I would move here.
At the time I was living on my own in a house with three stories, five bedrooms and two acres of garden and I was having the upmost difficulty coping and needed to downsize. My apartment now is much easier to maintain.
My apartment is set in the middle of Gifford Lea and there are gardens and flowerbeds around it, I have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a very nice sitting room and I’m happy as Larry.
I feel very safe and secure at the village. I think safety is the principle plus of the whole place. I feel intently cared for and have a lovely housekeeper who helps around the house, she’s wonderful.
Living at Gifford Lea has transformed my life, if I wasn’t living here I don’t know what I would be doing. Being part of a community and having friends or neighbours nearby to chat to is desperately important.
I think there is definitely a problem with loneliness amongst older people, there’s bound to be, I don’t think anyone fully understands what it feels like to be 80 and alone. Although I’m living here very happily now, I have had long period of desperate loneliness, even before the pandemic started.
Living at the village has definitely helped me to feel less lonely and isolated, I’m 88 and I’ve made a dozen or more very good friends here. There aren’t many people over 80 who make that many new friends, it’s very exciting.
I read a lot, paint a bit and take part in various activities like quizzes in the village. The worst part of the pandemic is we can’t go into each other’s houses, I spent a lot of time in the past with people popping in for a glass of wine or chat which we can’t do now.”
“I’m pleased beyond words that Dad lives at Gifford Lea. The house he lived in was too large for him and too much to manage. We were worried as a family about him living alone – he was depressed and though he is a very sociable person with a lot of friends, he had very long periods of loneliness. The layout and quality of the apartments at Gifford Lea was very impressive but the level of support and care for him was what tipped it for us.
Living at the village means he is now in a safe environment and a sociable one too. He has made many new friends and loves the activities. As me and one of my brothers live a long way away from him, it is very reassuring to know he is being looked after and people are keeping an eye and as his needs increase so does the level of care.
The village team have been absolutely excellent, responsive and patient with us and our concerns and even pre-empting problems and solutions before we have even had to raise them.
I think being part of a community in later life is essential, especially during lockdown and restricted visits. I dread to think how that would have been for him had he not moved. Loneliness in the older generation is an epidemic and an environment like Gifford Lea is enormously supportive but also makes people realise they are valued and should be nurtured.
Living at the village has helped Dad to feel less lonely and isolated, he has a wide circle of friends but they too are getting older so visits and travel are harder for them all. So a ready-made social life is a life saver. Literally.
It was very difficult not being able to see him during lockdown and he is not comfortable with Facetime or Zoom, so we weren’t able to ‘see’ him even virtually, but it was reassuring to know he was seeing other people in the village. He is a natural worrier but having people around him has definitely helped ease that.”
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