Resident says make the move to a retirement village while you’re young enough to make the most of it
When Wendy de Smit (72) moved to Elmbridge Village with her husband Peter (73) in 2005 they were looking for a comfortable home in a quiet, secure location with a minimum of responsibility.
Elmbridge nestles in the pretty village of Cranleigh in Surrey, which is great for shopping and surrounded by beautiful countryside. This excited the couple so they decided to go and have a look round. They toured the grounds and facilities, and then spoke with some of the village’s existing residents.
“We were very impressed with what we saw, everyone was so friendly. One lady even invited us into her apartment so we could see the size of it and told us all about the village. It was lovely.”
The de Smits bought a two-bedroom apartment with excellent views of the surrounding countryside, downsizing out of their three-bedroom property in Ewell, which had been their home for four and a half years.
Wendy, a former IT trainer, grew up in Northamptonshire before moving to Minnesota in the United States of America when she was 21. She became an American citizen and enjoyed a long and prosperous career at an insurance company.
However, nearly 30 years later Wendy decided to return to the UK. She settled in Camberley, Surrey, before meeting Peter and getting married in 2007.
The couple have now lived at Elmbridge for over twelve years and are confident they made the right decision to move there.
“My family all still live in the Midlands and Elmbridge has good transport links, so it is easy for us to go and visit them,” commented Wendy.
Wendy is known as one of Elmbridge’s most active residents. Indeed she chaired the Residents Committee for two years and still plays an important role in organising events and activities in the village.
“I have a busy life here at Elmbridge,” she explained. Although my husband and I have made many friends, I am the one who enjoys getting involved in the life of the village.”
She continued: “What’s more there are regular opportunities at Elmbridge to try new pursuits and really make the most of later life. It has a croquet lawn, table tennis tables, pool table, short mat bowls and all kinds of other activities – take your pick.”
Wendy and Peter also enjoy the excellent local restaurants, and Wendy belongs to the Cranleigh U3A and liaises with the Cranleigh Art Centre on behalf of Elmbridge.
The de Smits also love Elmbridge because it provides services that free residents from day-to-day chores such as property maintenance, laundry and cleaning. This enables them to focus on enjoying their retirement.
Wendy has some advice for others approaching later life: “Living in a retirement village is enormous fun, but you need to make the move while you are young enough to join in socially to get the most from the lifestyle. Make the decision early, all the information you need is at your fingertips. Feel free to come and have a look round Elmbridge, you will be warmly welcomed.”