The Best Move of our Life
My wife and I moved into Devonshire
Court eight years ago. I was almost 90 years
old with failing health, my wife (Liz) was a
little younger, but was more seriously ill.
We had the same concerns as anyone
facing such a major change in our lifestyle.
Would we feel claustrophobic, squashed
into those two rooms? Would we feel lost in
such a large building? Or worse still, be just
These fears proved groundless. Far from
being a number, we are one big family and
that includes the staff. There is a friendly
face to greet you every morning with a cup
of tea or coffee if necessary. You can have
breakfast in your room, but we prefer to
go down to the dining room. We like to
be out and about and it also gives us a chance
to chat with our friends.
As for the other fears, that large building
not only has a very large main lounge and
a similar sized dining room, but there are
smaller kitchens dotted around where you
can make a drink or a snack as you want.
There are also small lounges where you can
entertain friends, who may stay for a meal
with you at a very nominal cost.
However, what we most appreciate is
the feeling of security. In today’s world,
feeling safe is very important especially
when you get older. You also feel more
relaxed, knowing that there are trained
staff around 24 hours a day to help or
reassure you, should you need them.
Not only do they remind us of doctor,
dentist and hospital appointments but they
also arrange for transport and if necessary
a carer will go with you. The manager’s
door is always open, and she is around
the Home most days.
It is nice to have so many people around
of our own age with whom to socialise and
who are all literally on our doorstep. They
can visit us, we can visit them and we don’t
even have to go out if we don’t want to.
There is a coffee morning every month,
when everyone, including friends and
relatives, gather to chat. We love to socialise.
The Home has a very extensive
programme of activities, with something
happening virtually every day. A trip to
the theatre or zoo, to a pottery or brewery,
you name it – we’ve done it. We have had
a pantomime at the Home, a children’s
choir, bell ringers, clothes shows, comedians
– even live falcons. The list is endless.
We go to Movement to Music twice
a week and get great pleasure from the
Poetry Club, which meets in our beautiful
conservatory. We browse in the Home
library, and a mobile library calls every
month too. Our room is next to the small
chapel, which is very handy and it overlooks
the peaceful, enclosed garden area of the
Elderly Mentally Frail Unit.
We celebrate about eight special
occasions during the year. All the residents
gather in the main lounge for coffee and
sherry. A sumptuous meal is then served in
the dining room and then back to the lounge
for coffee (and liqueurs at Christmas).
Sometimes I go down to the bowling
green in the grounds to watch the play.
It is always in use by the club that lease it,
but all the residents have an open invitation
to play if they wish. I don’t play on the
snooker table either, but I did win the
Putting Competition last year with Don.
On my way back I usually have a word
with the maintenance chaps. They can turn
their hand to anything, and it is nice to have
them to turn to if we have a little problem.
My wife has her hair done every fortnight
at the Home’s own salon, but mine doesn’t
need doing quite that often! We do miss our
garden, but through the gardening club, I can
still potter about in the greenhouse while Liz
prefers to tend to the pot plants on the patio.
Liz also misses entertaining, especially
cooking special meals. What she doesn’t miss
is the daily grind of cooking, cleaning and
especially ironing. All these are done for us
now. The Home is spotless and the daily
menu is both varied and tasty. They know
from experience which dishes will be
appreciated. They have earned the Health
Authority’s Silver Foodwise Award for the
past five years.
Every two months we go along to an
open forum in the main lounge where we
can have our say about anything. It is nice
to have our say and know that our feelings
are respected and even acted upon. There
is also a free monthly magazine to keep us
up to date with all the events and activities.
Whatever you want from life, everyone here
will support you to give it your best shot.
For more information on the RMBI and its
Homes please call 0207 5962400 or visit the
website at www.rmbi.org.uk
Ken and Liz Aldridge –
a new life opens up
Web site created by Mark Griffin