After his father became ill with dementia and his mobility was significantly reduced following a hip operation, Michael O’Connor felt his parents should consider moving, and somewhere closer to his home in Bath would be ideal.
John (86) and Rosemary (79) O’Connor were living in the family home in Bromley, where they had been since before Michael was born. The house was becoming too much for the couple to cope with and his father was having difficulty negotiating the stairs. Concerned for the health of his father and the added stress that his mother was taking on, Michael started looking for properties that offered living options to meet his parent’s needs now, and in the future.
Michael said: “I wanted to find somewhere close to Bath, so that I could visit my parents on a regular basis because the drive to Bromley was becoming too much with a young family. Avonpark is just 15 minutes away from us, so it seemed ideal on paper. We had seen an apartment for sale at the village, so my wife and I went to have a look. It was perfect – a lovely two-bedroom ground floor property with a private outside space.
“We were reassured by the fact that future support is available at the village for later years,“ he added.
Now all Michael needed to do was convince his parents to make the move to the village.
“I was worried that they wouldn’t want to move. They are used to being in a busy town with everything on their doorstep. Added to that, my parents had an enormous sense of pride and ownership of their home. My father was a carpenter by trade, and had designed and fitted a beautiful bespoke kitchen, which they loved. I really thought that my mother would be emotional about the move, but this proved not to be the case,” said Michael.
“Mum finds it very reassuring that I’m just around the corner. I think that living at Avonpark will give her a new lease of life, which is just what she needs. And whilst it took a little while to get Dad settled into the apartment, he now enjoys the daily coffee mornings and mum is looking forward to joining the choir.”
Michael takes his children to visit their grandparents on a regular basis, who like to run around the beautiful outdoor spaces.
“Dad’s dementia means that he does get confused at times, but he’s totally engaged when the children are there. So it’s great that we are able to visit more often now and my parents will be able to see their grandchildren grow up – the children love having their grandparents close by.”
As neither John nor Rosemary drive anymore, the village minibus offers a great way for them to get about, taking them into town or on the trips that are organised by the social committee. Michael, a graphic designer, is fortunate enough to be flexible with his time and now that he’s just around the corner he can sit with his Dad whilst his wife Emma, takes his mother into town.
“I was an only child and my parents always made sure that I had everything I needed, so it’s really nice to be able to help them now. The living options available at Avonpark are superb and I would highly recommend considering a move to the village for a loved one, when the time is right.”