Shirley Porter, Elmbridge Village

“Everybody should have an Elmbridge Village.” – says retiree resident Shirley.

Shirley-Porter-PostLife has changed quite dramatically for Shirley Porter in recent times.

The cheerful 74-year-old has had her ups and downs over the past few years – but the future is now looking bright for her at Elmbridge Village in Surrey.

Shirley and her husband moved to the retirement village five years ago when her husband suffered a stroke and day-to-day life at their home in Bishop Stortford became a bit more difficult.

She said: “It got to the stage where I was doing everything around the house and garden, and this was impacting on our quality of life.”

The couple and their family made the decision to move to Elmbridge Village with the advantage of already being very familiar with the local area – which Shirley says helped in the decision-making process.

Shortly after moving in her husband developed signs of dementia and now resides in a nursing home close by.

Shirley said: “At the time of the diagnosis, the staff here were amazing – very understanding and the on-site doctor and GP services in Cranleigh have been brilliant.”

And when Shirley found herself then having to adapt to living alone, it was the support, community spirit and peace of mind of having security, maintenance and health facilities on site which made all the difference.

“I love being outdoors and gardening,” she said. “I have two allotments and while I was recovering from a leg operation, the gardeners here really did give me a helping hand.

“There’s so much to do here – but there is no pressure from anyone to get involved. You can take part in as much or a little as you like, the choice is yours.”

As well as joining in with some of the many activities available for residents at the village, keen charity volunteer Shirley enjoys the independence of being able to enjoy the social side of life outside of the village.

An active member of Cranleigh & District Lions Club, she says she is lucky enough to have another circle of friends with whom to enjoy visits to the theatre, pub and cinema.

She joked: “In fact, my daughter often calls me to find the answer machine on as I am out enjoying myself!”

On occasion, Shirley’s two teenage grandsons come to stay with her – who in turn have made their own friends at the village – with the three of them enjoying a game of badminton by tying a net between two trees outside her bungalow.

“I love it here, and would recommend this style of retirement living to anyone,” said Shirley. “There is so much to do and everyone is so understanding – just like family. Everyone should have an Elmbridge Village!”