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Case Study: Christine Bayley (Daughter)

22/06/2020 General, Wadswick Green, Case Study, Read Our Covid-19 Related News

Christine Bayley - Wadswick Green Residents' Daughter

"I think what my parents enjoy the most at Wadswick Green is the friendliness of the residents and staff… The team is fantastic, they’re polite, they’re friendly, and it’s obvious that the wellness of the residents is at the forefront of their mind.

My parents love the landscaping and gardens at Wadswick Green. It’s well tended but very natural… rabbits race around outside my mother’s bedroom window, from the kitchen we watch squirrels doing acrobatics through the trees, and the latest source of entertainment is a family of four baby foxes! Honestly, it’s like watching a David Attenborough series. The area locally is very beautiful. There are some very interesting stately homes nearby and Corsham is lovely if you want to potter around a few shops …and of course there is Bath which is a fabulous city.

The programme of activities is great. There’s something for everyone and it’s constantly evolving. The programme creates a real feeling of “living” because there is always something going on….even when my parents don’t participate themselves they see other residents coming and going from The Greenhouse, the croquet pitch, the allotment beds. There’s always movement, and a sense of calm energy and purpose about the place.

Before the Lockdown my father joined the bi-weekly Qigong classes in the gym and then he mastered Zoom on his iPad to continue with the classes remotely. When my mother was feeling well enough they attended the musical evenings and trips to Corsham’s cinema to watch a film or an Andre Rieu concert. They love the ad-hoc events like the residents Christmas pantomime - the past two years were brilliant entertainment, and by all accounts, totally hilarious.

In a relatively short time my father feels very much part of the Wadswick Green community. Prior to relocating he had become isolated as my mother’s primary carer (she suffers from Alzheimer’s). He couldn’t leave her at home alone for long and his social contact had become fleeting trips to his local supermarket GP and chemist! My parents had lived in the same family home for 40 years and most of the neighbours who brought up their young families at the same time as them, had either relocated or passed away. My father didn’t really have anything in common with many of the newer neighbours and no opportunity to form friendships. I think many people of my parent’s generation, particularly men, are reluctant to ask for help…they just soldier on. There were occasions when I’d visit home before they moved, and my father would be in tears because he felt so lonely. He couldn’t continue being mother’s principal carer without an infrastructure of support. That prompted me to help them find a new home like Wadswick Green and now they’re part of this wonderful community….

In 2019 my father celebrated his 90th birthday and I invited every resident to The Greenhouse for a surprise party. I thought we’d have around 25-30 acceptances, but we ended up with over 100 guests! It was a fantastic afternoon…the drink was flowing and I think they ate 8 birthday cakes! Everyone joined the celebrations including the carers, the gardeners, the reception and sales teams. Since then every month my parents seem to receive an invitation to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary. They really do feel part of the community …. it’s lovely.

The support from the care team has been fantastic. Because they are based onsite there’s more flexibility around timings, so if my mother is having a difficult morning, they can usually come earlier / later to suit her. The concierge team are also a great resource and always really helpful.  Then there is the resident liaison manager, ‘Ted’. He ensures that team members are involved as appropriate to deal with each resident’s request so that all efforts are coordinated and nothing is overlooked.

Life in general, and particularly in caring for my mother, is much less stressful for my father since they moved to Wadswick Green.

Wadswick Green’s handling of the lockdown was absolutely first class. The management followed the government guidelines, but the community didn’t feel in lockdown.

There were very informative and entertaining weekly newsletters full of puzzles, exercises for the body and mind, weekly quizzes, and photography competitions. I loved receiving a copy because I would Zoom with my father, and we’d chat about the latest edition and who was doing what where and when.

A pop-up shop was opened in the gym offering a selection of basics and essentials, and the Greenhouse introduced a takeaway service, which meant my parents could still enjoy a nice Sunday lunch.

Thoughtfully the management placed tables and chairs around the gardens and grounds, so residents who were exercising could stop and rest if they wanted to, and those wishing to meet with other residents or family could do so whilst maintaining the correct social distance.

My father enjoyed tending the patch of garden immediately outside his apartment. He loved being a ‘temporary’ member of the gardening team…. deadheading roses, pruning shrubs, doing a little bit of light weeding.

They also found it very entertaining watching the Zumba and aerobics classes on the green.

On occasion, Rafael, the Village Manager, reiterated in the newsletter that social distancing should be respected by everyone for everyone’s sake. His policing of activities gave me even more confidence that my parents were being well shielded during this time.

Overall, it was a huge relief for myself and my sister knowing that help was available as and when our parents needed it. I live over two hours east of Wadswick Green and my sister two hours south, so un-scheduled, emergency visits are a challenge at any time. During Lockdown they would have been a complete nightmare. The concierge collected groceries for my parents when no deliveries slots were available, they helped my father replace a BT box, drove him to Specsavers in Chippenham for an emergency appointment, fixed a broken light in the fridge, and replaced several down lights. We don’t want a 90 year old up a ladder changing bulbs at any time let alone during this pandemic!  

My sister and I worried that if anything happened to father in their former home, our mother wouldn’t be able to alert 999 because she’s totally dependent upon him. We looked at a lot of properties before choosing Wadswick Green and it hasn’t disappointed…father is now living independently in a very active and sociable community with support ‘on-tap’ when he needs help.

There was a paragraph written by Rafael in one of the newsletters that in my opinion perfectly encapsulates the ethos of Wadswick Green and the team. He wrote: “I would like to reassure you that social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to suffer alone. Myself and my team are always here to support you and can help you during this time whilst supporting your privacy and maintaining confidentiality. Living independently does not mean having to do everything alone.”

To conclude I would like to give a HUGE thank you to the team. Our parents are both nonagenarians and their remaining time with us is limited. What the team at Wadswick Green has done, and in particular their efforts during the Lockdown, has truly maximized my parents’ quality of life in these precious months. For that we are eternally grateful"

Interviewed 24th June 2020

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