After over three decades in the same house, Dr and Mrs Finnegan decided to move for an easier life when Dr David Finnegan developed a lung condition.
David & Jeny Finnegan, both 71, previously lived in a detached house in Holmbury St Mary for 37 years, which is now just seven miles from their newly-built two-bedroom apartment at Elmbridge retirement village, where they moved on 1st August 2018.
Jeny Finnegan said, “We’ve both settled in well and we’re really enjoying village life. I loved my garden at my old house but the gardens here are beautiful and I don’t even have to worry about maintaining them!”
The couple met at The University of Bristol where they both studied Chemistry and have now been married for 47 years.
Their lovely home in the Surrey hills had gorgeous views but it also had 16 steps leading up to the door. After David’s health began to suffer, this prompted the pair to make the decision to find a more manageable retirement property.
A simple process with part-exchange
Jeny explained: “With my husband’s lung condition, it really wasn’t a happy situation at all, so we needed to move as soon as possible. The whole process was so helpful and stress-free, it gave us absolute peace of mind knowing we had a buyer that wouldn’t mess us around.”
She added: “We’ve had bad experiences previously with the traditional process of moving houses. But with part-exchange it was straight-forward. After we chose our new retirement property, we accepted an offer, our property was sold, and we went from there.”
She continued: “Part-exchange avoided the heartache and upset from chains falling through and we just didn’t want to be held up, I’m really glad we made this decision.”
Choosing a retirement village
The Finnegan’s friends are an important part of their life, so they were keen to pick a location close to their friends. After researching retirement properties in the local Surrey area, Elmbridge became the obvious choice.
The couple explained: “Elmbridge makes it so easy to get to know people, there’s such a wide range of activities that you can get involved in if you want to; lovely allotments for people who miss their gardens; great walking areas; nice shops; and a great restaurant too, which we use two or three times a week, where we can meet even more people.”
Jeny and David are now living in a two-bedroom apartment, they explained: “Moving into an apartment was simple to adapt to, the property has built-in storage in both bedrooms and we have two large storage rooms in the hallway.
“We didn’t have much to get rid of, so it was an easy process, which helped us to de-clutter and evaluate what we really needed; what’s important; and what we can realistically live without.” they added.
The Finnegan’s are taking advantage of living in a smaller place: “It’s great, there’s less cleaning to be done and I hated doing the stairs, now we don’t have any. Once a week, we get an hour cleaning and our bed sheets are done for us – this comes with the service charge but it’s definitely worthwhile.”
A thriving community
Jeny and David describe Elmbridge as an easy place to live, and as sociable people themselves they’re able to take advantage of a great community with a lot going on.
Jeny explained: “We’ve always done a lot together and we were thrilled to find out there was a choir here that we could join. David also plays table tennis and I’m loving the book club. We’ve made a lot of friends.”
They added: “Moving into retirement and having time on your hands can create a lot of anxiety about what we should do, but the social calendar offers a lot of structure and we’ve made so many friends too.”
The couple explained the staff at Elmbridge always go the extra mile:
“They’re incredibly lovely and helpful, they truly make an effort to get to know us. They’re genuinely interested and support us in a variety of ways. It’s clear the village is choosy about who they recruit because they’re all so nice.”
There can be prejudicial opinions made about retirement villages but Jeny and David found defying them very amusing, they said:
“There seems to be a view of retirement villages that they’re just for elderly people who want to sit down. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, there’s so much to do if you want to get involved and we’re completely independent. Although, we know when we’ll need extra help and doctors’ appointments on-site, it’ll be ready for us.”
They continued: “All our friends have been so impressed. They were all shocked when they visited, and they’ve been really enthusiastic about it, they’re always keen to come back.”
Glad to make the move
After making the move in the summer, the couple have no regrets, they said: “We’re glad we haven’t left it too late, we look at people stuck in large homes in their eighties and we’re just happy we made the move earlier.”
For anyone thinking about moving to a retirement village, the couple advised: “Don’t hide away, try and meet people and try lots of different things. Remember that you can live in a retirement village just like you’re living anywhere else but without as many commitments.”
You can find out more about Surrey’s Elmbridge retirement village here.