Jean’s Abbeyfield Life
“I had been living with my husband in Africa for many years, but when he died in 1989 I returned to our home in France for a while, I then decided to come back to England to work, for I was still only 50 years old.
With my nursing qualification behind me I applied for the post of cook/housekeeper with the Abbeyfield Society in Epping, where I worked happily for 5½ years. As my mother who lived in Luton was becoming very frail, I applied for a transfer to one of 2 Abbeyfield Houses in Harpenden where I worked for 3 years, followed by a further 3 years at their 2nd house nearby.
Following the death of my mother, I needed a change of scenery and was excited to be offered the post of House Manager at Brian Lewis House in Oxford. This was both challenging and satisfying.
I was due to retire in 2000 and decided to move back to my flat in Luton. But I soon became restless and became the relief manager for several Abbeyfield Houses in Herts and then Housekeeper for a further 2 years in Watford. I finally retired as new technology, rules and regulations began to affect daily life.
Now after 15 years and after breaking my wrist rather badly, I thought back to my happy days with Abbeyfield and applied to Abbeyfield Oxford’s Brian Lewis House, this time as a resident.
I moved here in August 2014 where I feel quite at home, still able to get out and enjoy the many pleasures of life here in Oxford.
I strongly recommend the security and freedom that the society offers.”
A lovely letter
David (pictured) was one of the residents at Brian Lewis House. In January 2014, his daughter sent a lovely letter to the House Manager saying:-
I have been meaning to write to you for some time now to thank you most sincerely for all the kindness you have shown towards my father David, since he became a resident at Brian Lewis House. I cannot thank you and all the staff enough.
He has settled in extremely well and was looking forward to returning to you after spending Christmas with me and the family. For the time being, he has decided that he no longer wants to move back to be near me! We haven’t fallen out – he just loves Brian Lewis House and the people there.
Thank you for arranging a carer for him. He seems to have struck up a good relationship with her, and he tells me she will be seeing him regularly. Once again, please convey my thanks to all the staff.
Convalescing at Brian Lewis House – John’s story
“The NHS has sent you home too early” my GP told me, “actually what happened is that they needed your bed for an emergency case”. Anyway, my very good friend Joanna, a former nursing sister of several years standing, agreed. “What you need is a period of convalescence” she said, “how would you like to have all your meals cooked for you, all your shopping done for you. In fact, how would you like to be able to spend all your time just concentrating on recovering”. I readily agreed, so Joanna researched the situation extensively, then telephoned to say that she had found the most suitable place for me. It was Brian Lewis House in Oxford – an Abbeyfield residential home – and, moreover, it was just 15 minutes away from my own home. All that remained for me to do was pack a bag and be driven down the road – to rest and recover!
No man – or woman – is an island; we all need one another. Being with other people stimulates the body to be more awake and alert; engaging in conversations around the dining table gives one the conscious feeling that those brain cells are being used instead of atrophied. It is noticeable that even the comparatively quiet residents, who do more listening than talking, say that “one of the good points about living here is just being with other people”. In addition, my stay has encouraged me to avoid lethargy and follow my Cardiac Rehab course. To summarise – thanks to all at Brian Lewis House for my improved health and changed life-style.
To read John’s full article, download a copy by clicking Convalescing in Brian Lewis House.
Abbeyfield’s head office recently carried out a research programme with residents, families, staff and GPs and these are some of the comments received:
- “When you go to visit you can feel the atmosphere, you can tell the people are warm and friendly. Yes you want to go somewhere where they are positive and take pleasure in living”
- “Its about being able to have as much independence as you can handle”
- “Its about delivering standards of care which are above and beyond – that’s a winner (GP)”
- “You just want to keep what you have for longer – it’s an attitude of mind, you need to be busy”