Christmas comes early for couple who are first to exchange contracts at Solihull Retirement Village
Peter Pearce, 73, and his wife, Joy, 68, were in a celebratory mood yesterday – Tuesday 8th December. That is after they officially became the first to exchange contracts at the new state-of-the-art Solihull Retirement Village in Shirley – the perfect early Christmas present.
Developed by The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, a registered charity that exists to create better lives for older people, the retirement village is on course to complete very soon with new residents warmly welcomed to start their new year, in a new home, from January 2021.
Joy, who was born in Jamaica and moved over when aged fifteen, has lived with Peter in their family home in Kidderminster for the past 47 years. They have two daughters and three grandsons nearby, one of the reasons they chose to move.
In addition to seeing more of their family, the pair are looking forward to embracing a new social life following their move. Peter comments: “Loneliness is the biggest problem amongst old folk. You can have the biggest house and the biggest garden but it’s people that you need, people are the biggest draw. And this was the biggest draw to Solihull Village for us.”
The village in Solihull will have 261 one and two-bedroom spacious apartments for purchase and shared ownership, providing homes for local people aged 55 and over, with on-site care and support for those who need it.
Solihull Village is set to become a vibrant community where older people, volunteers, friends and families, and those from the wider community, can enjoy an unrivalled mix of social and leisure facilities under one roof, including a village hall, bar and bistro, gym, library, hair and beauty salon, and a corner shop all of which can be used by residents, their families and the local community.
A timetable of wide-ranging and stimulating activities will also be on offer, within the confines of social distancing and while adhering to government guidelines, to help residents stay healthy, active and independent for longer.
Peter, who has been married to Joy for 47 years, says: “We’re both fairly gregarious. If something happened to one of us, at least here the other has got friends and people who they can talk to.
Thousands of older people have already benefitted from living in one of ExtraCare’s villages which is backed up by research from Aston and Lancaster universities. Results showed that residents living in its retirement communities are less anxious, more active and less likely to fall. The study also revealed that 86.5% of residents were ‘never or hardly ever’ lonely and showed a 14.8% reduction in depressive symptoms amongst residents after three years, and annual NHS savings of 38% per person.
“Being in one place helps as well. It means we haven’t got to get in the car. Eventually we’ll not be able to drive – so it’s an ideal solution. That was the biggest draw, future proofing and the sociability of the place. We’ll try anything, most things. I like the idea of the art sessions and Joy the gardening and sewing.”
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