I was approaching my 82nd birthday when I became aware that living on my own was beginning to lack fulfillment. I had enjoyed a busy and sporting life, playing football, cricket, tennis, skiing and curling, and I was very fond of taking long walks in the countryside.
I began to find that cooking, gardening and cleaning the house were becoming more of a chore. I happened to be chatting to someone and he suggested considering a care home. He gave me the telephone number of Sunrise Senior Living of Virginia Water, and a few days later I rang and made an appointment to view the community.
A week later, I left my home in Twickenham and I took the train to Virginia Water, and with some trepidation walked in. I immediately relaxed and enjoyed the luxurious atmosphere, wrapped up with the friendly smile from the concierge, who’s name was Lollie. I was given a tour of Sunrise of Virginia Water, and I was impressed with the cleanliness and friendly atmosphere created by the staff.
I then went home to think about the big step of selling my house and moving into a care home. To help me decide, I paid a second visit to Sunrise and this time I stayed for lunch. It was an excellent meal and I decided that I would sign up and stay.
When I moved in, in the weeks later, I was given help to organise my possessions in my room and we hung my pictures wall to wall, to my liking.
I have always been a fussy eater, but again I enjoyed my meal in the dining room. I was seated next to Ken, an ex-government official who had much the same interests as me – politics and sport, and particularly cricket. We were to form a long-term friendship.
Having plenty of time on my hands I soon found ways to use it usefully. I took to walking in the pleasant countryside for an hour every day. Then there were bus trips on the Sunrise of Virginia Water bus twice a week to places of interest. Entertainers who came in to perform on the piano, harp or perhaps sing, film shows and classical music mornings. I also joined the local bridge club and made some more friends there. Lastly, there was a taxi organized by staff at Sunrise to take us to the local church every Sunday morning.
I was very impressed by the friendliness and patience of the staff, especially the carers. The waitresses also seem to enjoy their job and give special attention to those residents who need extra help. But, a special mention for the concierges, who are always ready to help, whether it is a problem with a lost earring or the time of the next bus to Staines – they always provide the answer.
Given the pleasant atmosphere, it did not take long for me to settle down at Sunrise of Virginia Water.