A family’s choice
Rebecca tells us about her grandparents move to Solihull Retirement Village, how the process went, and the many benefits it brought to her family.
Why did your grandparents decide to move?
My grandparents lived in Wales, both had started to decline slightly in health and being so far away from the rest of their family who all live in England meant they wanted to be closer to family. It was their decision, then we as a family investigated what was offered in our local town of Solihull.
Why did you choose Solihull Village?
Solihull Village was close to us all. It was a great central location which we all knew. It was also very beautiful and had just been built. We visited a few different retirement locations for a tour but we were very impressed with the ExtraCare village. We also thought the buyback scheme was really lovely. This move wasn’t about making a profit from the property it was about making sure our parents and grandparents had the best possible care, entertainment and facilities and Solihull Village ticked each of those boxes for us. The fact that ExtraCare would buy back the property at some point took a collective weight off our shoulders.
How was the moving process?
The process itself was fine however we had to move them just as the pandemic began to develop, this meant that initially my mother was the only person allowed to visit. That was an adjustment but after restrictions eased, we were all able to visit and bring their great grandchildren too. That made us all so happy. ExtraCare could not have been more accommodating during the process and really helped us through what could have been a very difficult situation.
What were the biggest benefits?
Having them closer. My grandad was desperate to bring the family back together and to get back to the Midlands. We have made many more quality moments together, we even rented out the hall in the village for my brother’s wedding party. He got married in London, but as it was a pandemic era wedding that meant we could only have small numbers. Solihull Village let us rent the hall a few months later when restrictions had eased and we had a big family party with food and drinks to celebrate. My grandparents only had to come downstairs to enjoy it and it was just perfect.
How did it feel to have them closer?
Incredible. To see my own children in the play area at Solihull Village with my grandparents was so wonderful. They got to know each other and had quality time. My grandparents had that time with all five of their great grandchildren.
Would you recommend a retirement village to others and their families?
Yes absolutely. Grandparents are the biggest gift, especially if you still have them as an adult. I treasured each of mine and having two of them at the retirement village in Solihull allowed us all to have the family time we’d had to grab in snatches for many previous years, as they were just too far away. Knowing they were being looked after gave us peace of mind. They both loved popping down to the bistro and listening to the pianist and my grandma loved the events that took place in the lovely village hall. Their apartment has a balcony and they were able to sit outside when it was sunny, or head up to the rooftop gardens to enjoy the weather. It was the right decision for our family. ExtraCare are bringing families together and that is priceless.
Home eye tests: Supporting ExtraCare residents in Birmingham
Mr Akbar Karim, Lead Optician for Specs at Home, provides a home eye test service at several of ExtraCare’s Birmingham retirement villages. This National Eye Health Week, he explains how home eye tests work and how he supports residents in taking care of their eye health.
Integrated Homes, Care and Support: A proven model to achieve better lives for older people
Seven years ago, ExtraCare commissioned a team from Aston University, led by Professor Carol Holland, to evaluate whether our charity’s approach gave positive outcomes for healthy ageing. The longitudinal study lasted three years and the findings were published in 2015. The report showed significant continuous improvements in depression, perceived health and memory, and also a cost reduction to the NHS of 38% as a result of reduced hospital stays, and fewer unplanned and routine GP visits.