Hightown Housing Association’s extra care facility in Aylesbury has been giving older people like 61-year-old Timothy Muirhead the support they need to thrive in their own home for the past five years.
The Elms, an extra care housing scheme for the over-55s in Verwood Road, celebrated its fifth birthday with a party on Monday 23rd January and Timothy, who now lives in Yorkshire, returned to help mark the occasion.
He lived in one of the 28 self-contained flats at The Elms for four years after being in shared supported living accommodation elsewhere for 11 years. Hightown aims to support the tenants, who are eligible for adult social care, to live a good quality of life which is as independent as possible.
For Timothy the most important aspect was feeling safe and secure within his own space, with the responsibility of the day-to-day running of his flat at The Elms giving him the incentive to look after his new property in Haworth, West Yorkshire.
He said: “Having lived in shared accommodation, to have my own flat was amazing. The atmosphere at The Elms is like being in a large family looked after by very caring, respectful and understanding staff who treat you with dignity and who make each person feel special.
“During my time at The Elms, I learned with the help of the staff, to ask for help when in difficulty. Just to talk to someone impartial helps a great deal when in distress. Now having moved on to a more independent life, I know that a chat is just a phone call away.
“I shall be forever grateful for the wonderful support I received during my four years at The Elms which has given me the confidence to move on with my life.”
He moved to Howarth as he no longer has family near Aylesbury and his nephew lives in Yorkshire.
He now works as a volunteer at a café run by Buddhist monks in Keighley, Yorkshire. Timothy said he particularly enjoyed the activities at The Elms – including arts and crafts, tai chi, cooking, gardening, bingo, games nights or trips out to restaurants.
Sharon Hobbs, Hightown’s Operations Manager at The Elms, said: “We aim to support our tenants to be as independent as possible with a good quality of life. We try to build their living skills as well as create a welcoming environment.
“This includes organising a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing and confidence of our tenants. Everyone really enjoyed celebrating our fifth birthday at an afternoon party.”