Living in Very Sheltered Flats since: 2010
1. Where did you live before coming to the Almshouses?
I lived in Ipswich – I’d moved from Sudbury to Kesgrave in 1996 with my husband Geoffrey. We had a lovely bungalow with a big garden.
2. What made you decide you wanted to live in very sheltered accommodation?
After my husband died in 2005, I had some complex operations and medical treatment. Afterwards I was unsteady and prone to falling. It was clear I needed to move somewhere that was less isolated, with care on hand when I needed it.
3. Why did you choose the Almshouses?
I started looking around in 2006 – I saw a couple of places but either I didn’t like the rooms or I found the staff unhelpful. A friend suggested I look at the Almshouses – her mother had been a resident here in Jubilee House. I sent off for the details, visited and fell in love with the place. The generous size of the flats, the independence they can provide and the friendliness of the care staff – it was perfect for me.
4. What did you think when you first saw the Very Sheltered Flats?
I thought “Wow, that’s nice!” It was wonderful – more like a hotel than a place for old people – all beautifully furnished and it smells lovely, no funny smells!
5. How long did you have to wait for a place?
Just over a month – I was extremely lucky as most people have to wait a lot longer than that.
6. What was your first day/night like?
I was able to bring nearly all my furniture and I got it all into my flat! The flats come with the kitchen kitted out so that means you don’t have to bring white goods which is very helpful. The day I moved in, I unloaded my stuff and then spent the night with my daughter at her house.
7. What do you value and enjoy most about the Almshouses?
I value the security – I have no household worries – the gas and electricity is all covered and there is always help on hand to sort practical things out.
I join in with everything – art, knitting, coffee mornings, chair keep fit, cinema, shopping trips and my children and grandchildren take me out to all sorts of places.
8. What would you say to someone thinking of coming to visit or to move in here?
“Come here quick!”
9. Could you tell us about your life story?
I was born in Boreham near Chelmsford in 1926 but my parents bought a farm at Westhall in Halesworth in 1929 and that was where I spent most of my young life. Life on the farm was very hard. We kept cows, pigs, geese, ducks, chickens and turkeys for the Christmas trade. In 1942 I married a much older man who worked for my father. When my dad became ill, he sold the farm and retired.
By then my husband and I had four children and we all moved to Sutton to work for a private estate. My husband did all sorts of jobs including taking charge of the cows and the gardens. When he retired, my son built a very nice bungalow for us.
My first husband died in 1982 and I met my second husband at the end of 1983 and he also had four children. After we married we travelled all over the place in this country and abroad. My husband became ill and died in 2005. He left the house to his children with the provision for me to live in it as long as I wanted to – but it was too big and my own health issues meant there was no way I could manage the house and garden on my own.