Before moving to Avonpark, in Wiltshire, 90-year-old Lady Barclay lived in Bath for 20 years. She worked many of her years as a psychotherapist and had three children with her husband. She was married to her husband for 70 years and describes their relationship as a “huge joining of personalities”, unfortunately he passed way four years ago.
After the loss of someone who meant so much to her, natural feelings of anxiety, loneliness and sadness occurred. This was when Mrs Barclay took a fact-finding visit to a friend living just 20 minutes away, at Avonpark retirement village.
Discovering the lifestyle first-hand
Mrs Barclay said: “I looked around and I really liked what I saw. A good friend of mine, who was very full of life, was very happy here too. I decided to take a break from my four-bedroom house and spent some extra time here on a Try Before You Buy visit.”
A Try Before You Buy stay allows potential residents to explore the grounds and facilities, chat to existing residents, participate in groups and activities and get a feel for retirement living.
Mrs Barclay added: “It was a good opportunity to see the village before committing to a property. I was so impressed with my stay that I decided to make it permanent. I am now living in a one-bedroom second-floor property. It’s wonderful to have my own apartment, I am still independent, and I would recommend this to anyone for their last move.”
Unfortunately, before the move Mrs Barclay fell ill and had to move into the care home temporarily.
She explained: “My family organised all the care I needed, and I rehabilitated in May this year. The care home was very good, and I am really grateful for their help. Avonpark offers the security you need if you happen to fall ill.”
One of Mrs Barclay’s daughters, Ali Barclay, plays a very active role in her mother’s life and continues to be a huge support for her, Mrs Barclay explained she “wouldn’t know what to do without her”.
Ali explained: “I’m very pleased she’s here. We’ve shared the sadness of the loss of my father and it has inevitably been difficult for her. It’s a hard adjustment, at 90, she’s lost her husband, her home, some of her friends and that’s a difficult place to be.”
She continued: “I now feel reassured she is here. She worried a lot about the garden and the house but living here has taken a huge weight off. The location means she can still visit her friends from Bath and I am able to visit weekly. All in all, it was a great move for her, she’s independent and able to be as active as she wants to be.”
With a loving family, Mrs Barclay enjoys how easy it is to welcome family and friends into the village.
She explained: “It’s great that my family and friends can be involved in my life here. There’s a very comfortable guest-room where I can have someone stay. It’s lovely that people have a great sense of family here.”
Mrs Barclay describes the village as a place where you can be as active as you want to be.
She said: “It’s a very sociable environment whether you want to join in or not with the many activities like singing, painting, carpet bowls or scrabble – it’s great fun! But I also enjoy admiring the gardens in the summer time, there’s no pressure to join in if you don’t want to.”
Since moving into the village, Lady Barclay has felt a huge sense of belonging and community and explains that everybody makes a great effort to be inclusive.
She continued: “The staff are extraordinarily friendly, they’re very wary of residents being lonely. There are many old people in the village that are active and lively. It’s just a very pleasant and welcoming place to be and I’ve been introduced to a lot of friends.”