Just 9 days after having an article in the Daily Express about how retirement villages can reduce stress for all the family, the Sunday Express ran nearly a full page on how moving to Richmond Northampton helped Roy Mateer rebuild his life.
Below is a transcript of the feature - the article can be read on the Express website here.
How retirement homes could help you mourn and rebuild your life after losing a partner
THE DUTCH have a saying that sums up life for many older people: “Better a near neighbour than a far friend.” It is a sad fact that more than two million over-75s in England live alone and half of them often go for a month without speaking to a near neighbour, let alone a far friend or family member, according to Age UK.
That has certainly been the experience of Roy Mateer, who moved into a Richmond Village development at Grange Park near Northampton to live in a village suite with hotel-style assisted living support after the sudden death of his wife.
“I was still in a state of shock when I moved here following my wife’s death,” says Roy, “and much of what happened to me in the early days is just a blur. I was, however, determined to make a new life for myself and took part in everything going, from coffee mornings and the crossword group to the chess club – playing for the first time since school. But I did draw a line with the Ladies’ Group and ‘Knit & Natter’!
“I instantly made new friends, my meals were provided and domestic tasks taken care of, while I was able to rebuild my life while taking time to mourn in private.
“I realised I was starting to make progress when, after a seated exercise session, I went for a coffee with a group of people, none of whom I had known just a few weeks earlier.
They were great company and I laughed a lot for the first time since losing Anne. I began to realise I was starting to make a new life. It’s been wonderful.”
Roy, 67, and his wife Anne had grown-up and met in Greater Manchester but moved to Berkshire 20 years after getting married when Roy switched from his job as an accountant to a second career as an IT consultant specialising in financial systems.
He took early retirement aged 60, due largely to health issues. Anne had bad arthritis and Roy had problems with his neurological system, which affects his balance and ability to concentrate.
Although they had moved to a bungalow for their retirement they had to employ a cleaner and gardener and were starting to find it difficult to get out and about, so they put it on the market with the aim of moving to a retirement village.
Then in February, without warning, Anne died in the middle of the night as Roy slept beside her. Roy was in a complete state of shock but fortunately his daughter Catherine, son Andrew, and son-in-law Simon arranged for the bungalow to be sold under Richmond’s part exchange scheme and within a month he was in a position to move into Richmond Northampton.
“Catherine, Andrew and Simon had done all the hard work from my side, and I wish to thank Claire Fry from Richmond for the part she played,” says Roy.
Set up almost 20 years ago, Richmond Villages is part of Bupa and has five retirement villages in Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.
Richmond Northampton has village apartments and village suites in New England-style buildings set around landscaped gardens overlooking woods and parkland with scenic walks.
The apartments come with fully-fitted kitchens, a lounge-dining room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, while the suites have kitchenettes, a lounge and bedroom with ensuite plus the option of an assisted living package that includes a daily maid service, laundry, and the cost of on-site food, soft beverages, heating, energy and water bills.
Everybody has access to the clubs and facilities such as the restaurant, communal lounges, cafe, library, craft room and IT room and there is also a hair salon and beauty therapy room.
“At Richmond Villages, the sense of community and the provision of stimulating activities is central to village life,” says Paddy Brice, managing director of Richmond.
“We design, build and operate our villages, but it’s our residents who are the community, and make it what it is.”