I joined Richmond Villages in July 2006, so have now just celebrated my 10 year milestone! Quite unusual these days for someone to work for one employer for so long, don’t you think? I often see CVs where people have only stayed with a company for a couple of years and in some cases a couple of months, so what does Richmond Villages have that other employers don’t have?
When I went to my very first interview I was amazed by the standard and quality of the accommodation, the friendliness of the staff and the options that it opened up in later life.
At the time my Grandma had just passed away, having spent the final 18 months of her life in a care home. This became a necessity for her after my Grandad passed away quite suddenly. She had a dementia and he had been her main carer for quite some time. Without him it wasn’t safe for her to live on her own and the family had to make the decisions about her ongoing care. The care home she lived in was wonderful and she was extremely well cared for. But visiting a Richmond Village made me see the alternatives.
My Grandad had missed out on a lot of the things that he enjoyed in the final years of his life as he was looking after my Grandma. He loved painting and gardening and although he tried to find the time when he could, he couldn’t leave her on her own as she wandered and became confused. My Grandad had also taken over most of the household chores that previously they had shared and, being a proud man, would never complain or ask for extra help even though we could see it was taking its toll. Our family would help out wherever possible, but we all had busy family lives and often rather than spending quality time with my Grandparents we found ourselves doing their shopping or cleaning, just to try and give my Grandad a break. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t mind doing this – we actually felt guilty that we couldn’t do more – but looking back we didn’t often have quality time together which is so important for everyone.
I now know that if they had moved to a Richmond Village in either a Village Apartment or a Village Suite, they would have been surrounded by additional support. My Grandad wouldn’t have needed to cook everyday. He could have arranged support for someone to sit with my Grandma or take her to something which she would enjoy taking part in, whilst he himself could have painted or joined in with one of the other many activities available. They could have used the restaurant for meals, rather than having to shop and cook all the time and they could have had support with cleaning and they wouldn’t have had to worry about the maintenance on their house which was nearly as old as they were! Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t have died when he did if he hadn’t been rushing around taking care of my Grandma and everything else at home? And even at the times when one or the other of them had needed that extra bit of care, like when my Grandma broke her hip, instead of staying in hospital and my Grandad needing someone to take him to see her as the hospital wasn’t on a bus route and he didn’t own a car, she may have been able to return home with an increased care and support package? She could have possibly been discharged earlier and moved to the on-site care home until she was well enough to return home.
These thoughts made accepting the offer of a job at Richmond Villages a really easy one for me. A company that offered care and support on many more levels than I had previously thought was available and it is probably the same thoughts that have kept me here for so long. But on reflection there are so many more reasons.
Although now beginning to grow in size we have a small core management team who have been together for a long time. Many of that team have been here for as long, if not slightly longer than me and we are not only work colleagues but really are one big Richmond Villages family! We have been together through births, deaths and marriages! Like any other family, we don’t always agree and we sometimes argue, but we all have the same aim in making Richmond Villages the market leader in retirement living - to provide support and care at an exceptional level in luxury surroundings.
My role at Richmond has evolved and changed in the last ten years and as part of the Bupa group we are entering a really exciting time. For me this involves the analysis and support of seeking new sites for development, supporting the planning process through to marketing the village to new residents and the community it will form a part of. I love working with the Village Adviser teams to provide the most suitable form of accommodation, lifestyle and support to the people who decide to make their homes in a Richmond Village. Some days are stressful; some days drive you mad, but the role is never boring and certainly more rewarding than annoying. How many can say that about their jobs?
Through all the changes and now the growth of Richmond Villages, the aim of all the teams is to care and support for people in their retirement; to provide accommodation and services which are exceptional.
10 years on, the reasons that led me to make the decision to accept my job in 2006 are still very much the reasons that I remain at Richmond Villages today. The variety of support options available; the quality of the accommodation and facilities that are provided; the dedicated staff and, most importantly, the residents that we provide care and support for on a daily basis.
I am now looking forward to my next 10 years at Richmond Villages. How many people can say that about their jobs?