I’ve been here 16 Years, 5 years in this flat.

We had a bit of trouble with  the downstairs flat. …..So  I couldn’t really stand it any longer so I put in for and  managed to get this. Which is fine, as I managed to get the extra bedroom for anyone who wants to come and stay. I’ve enjoyed being  here because I keep busy.  I’m settled here and as you can see I have a nice flat.

I think it’s very good because that, as you say, it has a dining area.  The other was just one room and bathroom. Everything was quite adequate for one person. But this is a 2-person flat. 

At my age I’m quite happy with the way things are.

age display spoons

Some people  come in and say P. how can you be dusting all that? But I like my things.  You know I have 208 spoons.

In 1967 I started with the boxer spoon, very old Chinese spoon. I belong to a Spoon Club and the chap made these. He had a round coffee table and taken the top off it, lined it with display spoons and put glass on it. I very nearly went …and then I thought… I didn’t have as many spoons. If you’re not careful you can collect an awful lot.

My daughter and I have this thing – no ornaments.

elderly support, family and memories at home

This is my family…  they are very close to me.

One of the things that we all appreciate is the fact that it is safe here. We have the buzzer. It’s safe…….. Every room has a cord.  I usually wear that round my neck. We also have smoke alarms.

It’s one of those places that is really safe.

We have a new tenant who came in…she lived in a lovely bungalow locally but she was tormented by children and bad boys. So she’s in here and she loves it. She thinks it’s because she feels safe. She’s not going to have someone rapping on her back door trying to get in.

comfortable sheltered accommodation

I am 92 and find it hard getting out of bed some mornings –  but I have a rail. I sit on the edge of the bed, because if I get up too quickly I would fall. So I allow for all that. 

I’m a bit slow getting in and out.

As you can see the bathroom is just along and the kitchen. It takes me a wee while to get going. I have my leisurely breakfast….  and then  the day goes on.

No, I don’t really use the rolator in the house.  I have a  2 wheel and a 4 wheel rotator that I can sit on  – which is supplied by the OT. That’s all free. Which is a benefit, because to pay for things like that … you wouldn’t just have them.

Those are new curtains.

My son was very generous you see.. and rugs. I few things like that.. a new bed because I had more space.  I was very happy in the other flat but as things go this one has the advantage… I’m not looking out now on the cars and grounds at the front.

sheltered accommodation safe and comfortable

It was empty. I got new curtains and new bed linen. It was a new start I suppose….. I gained an extra bedroom. But most of this belongs to me…

Anything in the flat belongs to the tenant and the tenant is responsible for it. You have to have your own insurance for the flat. It was stated to be an environment where you have to be able to look after yourself. We had no carers. Now, we have a lot of carers because we have all grown old.

I have a carer comes in to help me shower. She comes in twice a week. Not to do anything else. They’re very good, very helpful – the girl that I have. Because it wasn’t easy, you know, having someone come in. Well, anyway you get used to it.

home for age, sheltered living

We are very fortunate with this new coordinator. She has a Breakfast Club and Coffee Morning and we have lunch and now Afternoon  Tea with proper cups and saucers. So she is doing her best. 

It’s very difficult in here. Most of the people are in their 80’s. There are just a few younger people.

On the whole,  I suppose, people would say that after 16  years they could do with new carpets in the hall, or the lights could be seen to, or we could do with a new cooker.

I try to be independent for my daughter’s sake.

elderly person at home

This flat is fine because we pay a service charge and if the radiators go they send down their engineers. We pay a service charge for the windows, the garden, the interiors, the domestic and we also pay part of the CSO’s wages. That’s the service charge on top of your rent.

tidy kitchen sheltered accommodation

I was always interested in flower arranging and used to do a lot more… I suppose you realise I am a ‘Committee’ woman.  I am still on the committee representing this place on a forum. The tenants are represented to air grievances. That keeps me going.

I was in the Flower Club and NIFAS – NI Flower Arranging Society…. maybe 50 years.  But, been there, done that…….

I am fortunate that once a fortnight  I go out with my friends for coffee.  This is the WI.  They disbanded but tend to meet for coffee and chat.

I was asked to join the Tuesday Club attached to St.  Steven’s church –   they are terrific for visiting old houses. People are very good about helping me on and off the coach and I take my rolator with me. The last homes we went to were The Argrory… Mountstewart, Castleward.

We’re off to Ballymena for a surprise Christmas lunch in December. That keeps me in contact with people.

view from hall sheltered accommodation

It could be isolating in here. Some people find it isolating or lonely…..

The lovely man next door he sometimes get frustrated as there’s nothing really for men. Women are different.  They come in and have a cup of coffee.  It could  be….. It can be lonely for people –  especially if they can’t get out and about.

We have a common room, as you know. We used to meet up and have a chat but some people just want to stay in their flats.  

Some of our nice tenants are no longer with us. That’s what it’s like to be in this environment, in sheltered housing. People move on.  But there it is… I’m happy here.

Nuala Rooney

I am designer, educator and researcher developing creative and holistic human-centred insights across the social/spatial sphere.

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