Margaret moved to a three bedroomed apartment at The Folds in January 2022, having previously lived in in Marple Bridge for 35 years in a house that she built with her husband Peter.

“Peter was a solicitor in Manchester before we retired. I read law at Manchester University, which is how we met, and then I did a post-graduate course in social administration and became a medical social worker.

“We got married in 1968, when we were 23 and 24, and rented in Withington.

“After two years I became pregnant with our son, Richard, and then we tried for another baby and it took six and a half years for us to have our daughter, Jennie. In that time, I worked part time for a firm of solicitors in Marple.

“The first house that we bought was a three bedroomed house in Hawk Green where we lived for eight years and then we moved to a bigger house with four bedrooms in Marple Bridge before deciding to build.

“Building our own house was Peter’s idea and he found the plot. The architect had been one of our neighbours at the flat in Withington and he used to come over and we’d open a bottle of wine and talk about what we wanted.

“It was a beautiful house set in half an acre of gardens and I was very fond of it.”

Having spent 30 happy years together in the home they built, sadly Peter died in May 2017. Margaret stayed in their family home for five more years.

Deciding to move

“The actual decision to move was the result of a TIA which I had in November 2020. I woke up and didn’t feel very well. When I realised that I was having a stroke, I had a phone by the bed but I couldn’t remember anybody’s telephone number or how to dial. I just pressed the autodial twice and the first name that came up was my son’s ex-wife. She picked up the phone and realised that I couldn’t speak and so she rang Richard and he called an ambulance and my neighbours before setting off to drive here in just over four hours. In the meantime, the neighbours had a key and came in to sit with me and look out for the ambulance.

“That was a wakeup call. It took about six months for me to recover from the stroke and that’s when I happened to read an article in the local newspaper about The Folds winning an award.

“I decided to visit with a friend and I just fell in love with it. I put the deposit down the second time I came…and I don’t regret it one bit! It’s really lovely. My first impressions were that it was like a very exclusive hotel and I loved it!

“I looked at the three bedroomed show apartment but I think there was already an offer on that, so I saw the one on the third floor and said I’d like to reserve that one.”

“Until I read that article, I hadn’t realised there were things like the summer house and the beautiful gardens. I’m a keen gardener and in my previous home, we used to open our gardens for the Mellor Open Gardens. My daughter-in-law is a landscape designer and she was just overcome by the quality of the landscape design and the planting at The Folds.

Additional care

“My daughter, Jennie, was living in Denmark and she’s recently moved to Switzerland and my son, Richard, is now in Reigate, Surrey. They’re both married and I have three grandchildren.”

With no close family living nearby, one of the things that appealed to Margaret was the fact that there would be somebody on hand 24 hours a day if anything ever happened again.

“If there wasn’t 24 hour support on hand, I wouldn’t have come. The management team know everybody by name. They’re very friendly and they’re very willing to help. Aaron’s amazing!”

“I also know the importance of having additional care available when you need it because I had a serious accident when I was 70.

“We went to visit my daughter, Jennie, who at that point was living in the States, she and her husband were working at Yale.

“On this occasion we were walking in the Upper New York woodland and I had a rather nasty fall. I fell three metres onto concrete and was helicoptered to hospital. I was treated there for a fortnight, then flown back to the UK by air ambulance and delivered to Stepping Hill where I was nursed until I moved to a rehabilitation unit.

“The top of my head is quite reorganised and when I came around in Stepping Hill, I couldn’t walk. I had to learn to walk again and talk and all the other things. It was a good six months before I came out of the rehabilitation unit, walking with a stick. I think I felt 100% independent again once my feeding tube had been removed.

“I suppose that experience must have played a part in my thinking about having help on hand in the future because up until then I felt invulnerable.”

Help to move

Margaret’s house in Marple had four bedrooms. When it came to downsizing, it was rather an overwhelming challenge.

“It wasn’t just 35 years’ worth of stuff, it was about 300 years because I am a hoarder and I come from a long line of hoarders. That’s one reason why I wanted a three bedroomed apartment because one bedroom is full of memorabilia, sewing, knitting and my upright piano. It’s a hobby room.

“I was very attached to our home, but I also knew that there was no way that I could condense the contents into a small place.

“Adlington Retirement Living supported me with valuable time from the Senior Move Partnership. Sarah visited me at home and was wonderful.

“On the first visit, she sat down with me and discussed what I would like to do. By that stage my son-in-law had kindly emptied the loft and although I had cleared quite a lot of stuff myself, it was surprising how much was still there.

“Sarah helped me reduce the number of books and arranged for an antiques dealer to buy my Victorian Buffet and some silver items.

“She also helped me with the actual move. She was brilliant, she really was. I don’t think I could have managed without her and my children.

“On the day of the move Richard was here too. He’s vegan and the team at The Folds produced a lovely vegan meal for us in the restaurant at lunchtime. They asked if I’d rather sit in the quiet than be involved in all the moving and I was tired by that stage, so I had a little snooze in another apartment.

“I found the Senior Move Partnership brilliant. Just wonderful. In fact, the other people I’ve spoken to who moved here have all recommended them and I would recommend them too.

Thriving community

“I think the best thing about moving to a retirement community is the stimulus of like-minded people really. It’s the social life as much as anything.

“We have much more time available to do the things that we want to do because we no longer have to worry about the upkeep of a big house and garden.

“I enjoy walking and belong to the walking club at The Folds. I didn’t know that Romiley had so many interesting walks. There are four to six of us in the group who go for a walk every Friday. We took the bus last week to the Etherow Country Park. It was lovely and cool there because it’s all tree-covered, so we walked about three and a half miles and then caught the bus back. Norma is the one who knows the area really well so we just follow Norma!”

“I’m also a founder member of the gardening club. I don’t do much in the way of planting. That’s other people’s pleasure. I enjoy weeding. I did the raised beds the day before yesterday. We were really pleased that they built the raised beds for us. There are several very keen gardeners. We grew sunflowers this year and planted them out and we’ve grown celery, beetroot and lettuce.

“I do yoga on Wednesday mornings and Pilates on Monday mornings at the parish centre at Mellor. I’ve done yoga for over 40 years and I’ve done Pilates for the last 10 or 12 years. There’s an exercise class here at The Folds – Move It with Mags – on a Wednesday. That’s a balance and flexibility class but I think my Yoga and Pilates classes cover all of that for me and it clashes with my yoga class.

“I have friends from Marple Bridge who come regularly to visit and play bridge. It’s nice to be able to offer them a coffee in the lounge and I enjoy baking so I often provide tea and cake in my apartment.

“I’ve also made some good friends here. There’s a lady that I play Othello, the board game, with. We usually play it outside on the terrace in front of the lounge. We also play whist here every week on a Tuesday in the activities room.

“I’m a jigsaw addict and there’s a big board downstairs with wings on either side and you can do your jigsaw in the middle. I had it all to myself for some time but now another homeowner has moved in, and we help each other with our jigsaws.

“There are all sorts of other proposals we’re discussing at the moment. There’s talk of ‘gin club’ and a lady who moved here from Spain thinks we ought to have a ‘laughter club’.

“I thought I was happy where I was, but I’m so much happier here. There’s always the possibility of company and I’m a very gregarious person. I settled in like a flash. I never gave a nostalgic thought to the house I had left, in spite of the fact that it was just what we wanted. I felt so at home here.”

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