“We have our independence whilst living in a community.”

As people get older, living independently can become an uphill challenge as needs grow and change. However independent living options can give that extra reassurance with 24 hour support on hand. Two residents who live in Bay Tree Court’s independent living accommodation in Prestbury Cheltenham share their experience of living in this community.

Jacqui has been involved in Bay Tree Court since 1998 as her parents were one of the first people to move into the independent living apartments.

“It worked really well for my parents. It was the best thing they could have done. When dad deteriorated, he went into the care home and eight weeks later, he died. My parents had been married 63 years and Mum went downhill quickly with dementia after his death and she then she moved into the residential home.” At this point Jacqui was at the stage of wanting to downsize, so she moved into her parents flat.

“I really like it. I like the community feel of it. I think it’s because [the apartments] have their own front doors – we have our independence whilst living in a community. All of us come and go as we please but we also know there are people around.”

The Independent Living Manager Jane or Housekeeper Clare visit the residents each morning. As Jacqui explains “By the time they go you’ve had that bit of company and you can get going. You know it wouldn’t be long before someone will notice that you might need something.” Each resident is also given an emergency button which alerts the staff in the care home to come and help. As Jacqui explains “if you have a fall, even at night, the staff are over quickly”.

Bay Tree Court is on Prestbury high street and Jacqui offers her highlights of this community; “It’s very good with the shops, a very good butchers, a bakers with a cafe in the back. There are two buses that run into Cheltenham and back. Residents also use the Community Connection transport bus. The church down the road holds coffee mornings. There are three pubs, which are very good, and one is just starting a book club. There is keep fit at the library. There is a new doctor’s surgery and the pharmacy deliver prescriptions. There are nice walks round the village for those who are more mobile. Most people have family down the road somewhere.” Jacqui is also a keen gardener and uses her skills adding to the colour and interest in surrounding gardens.

Betty moved into an apartment at Bay Tree Court when her and her husband moved to be closer to their family. Betty’s husband Ken moved into the residential care home and Betty came to an independent living apartment next door.

The flat and the room [in the care home] were empty at the same time. Ken had a room where there was lots going on and it wasn’t too far to the lounge and dining room. I went down everyday and stayed for afternoon tea. I waved to him through the window as I came home.” Sadly Ken passed away last year. As Betty explains “I found it very hard to be honest, after 66 years of marriage”.

Betty is gradually building local connections, which includes a lunch club at Bethesda Methodist Church “I’m getting to know them all now”. Outside the apartments is a bench which Betty and Ken were given for their 25th wedding anniversary where she enjoys talking with fellow residents; “We have a community here. We sit for hours on the bench together talking. Jane [the independent living manager] is very good, she pops in every day. I get on very well with her and the housekeeper. Anything we need doing they get organised. I am thankful I am here, with my daughter, her children and grandchildren so close by.”

There is currently one refurbished bungalow available.  To find out more call Jane Cannon, Independent Living Manager on 07547 102 001 or email Jane.Cannon@lilianfaithfull.co.uk (pictured here) and visit our webpages.

If you would like to learn more about the Bay Tree Court residential care home contact the team on 01242 236 000 or email BayTreeCourt@lilianfaithfull.co.uk