German by birth. Found love in Cambridge. Lived in Switzerland for 50 years. Resident Heidi Calder proves Retirement Villages is a real melting pot of unique people and stories.
“My daughter didn’t exactly make the decision for me, but she ‘encouraged’ me to move over to the UK and into a retirement village by making various appointments for me to visit them when I travelled over from Switzerland,” explains Heidi.
Heidi’s primary motives for moving were to be closer to her daughters, but the size and type of property were also a deciding factor.
“For me it is ideal – one of my daughter’s is only 15 minutes away by car, which is lovely, and the size of the apartment is also easy to manage. It was big enough for my things and the furniture I wanted to keep, but not too large.”
Another bonus is the proximity of other towns and villages, such as Cranleigh and Guildford. Heidi explains that her daughter Caroline often visits both areas, with Elmbridge Village en route meaning the pair can spend quality time together.
It was that quality time and peace of mind that helped Heidi make the move from Switzerland to Elmbridge village.
“It’s quite complicated as an elderly parent to live in another country, because your family does not really know how you are. It’s also a major commitment for them to look after me.
“So it was the sensible thing to do to move here where there is assistance on site if I need it and I am close by to family. It’s lovely when family, children and grandchildren can just ‘pop in’.”
Family and independence
While having family nearby is a huge positive, Heidi also maintains that freedom to choose what she does is incredibly important.
“But I can also be as independent as I like, because I have plenty of things to occupy me in the apartment, as well as having external activities in the village and The Club House, such as choir and qi gong (Chinese exercise), medau gym and Scrabble, or joining the social evening on Fridays.”
Heidi, who has lived at Elmbridge Manor for one year, added that it was good to have such a range of options, but also being able to choose what activities to partake in quite easily because everything was so close.
“It’s also nice for my family to know I am occupied. They are busy and have their own lives, so it’s reassuring for them to know I am keeping active and have my own interests.”
A warm welcome from the team at Retirement Villages also helped to settle any nerves Heidi had when moving in.
“It is very much like a family here. The fact that everybody is so welcoming made me feel settled from the moment I arrived, so I had no problem getting used to this way of living.”