Resident and Family Comments
The right decision
As the last of the baubles and tinsel were finally cleared away, it was time for Bessie McCaig to reflect on her first Christmas and New Year at Larchfield Manor.
"It was simply wonderful," was her considered but enthusiastic opinion. "The food was lovely, the staff were marvellous and the atmosphere for all the residents was incredible. I turned down the opportunity to spend the festive season with either my family or friends in favour of staying here at Larchfield and I'm so pleased I made the right decision.
"There was so much happening. I particularly enjoyed the music and poetry evening and the concerts but the Cinderella dinner was probably the highlight - the conjuror was just magic. I thoroughly enjoyed myself."
A native of Sheffield and raised in Doncaster, Bessie, now aged 81 but looking ten years younger, had been living alone in Wetherby since the death of her husband five years ago. "I got married as a result of a toothache," she said with a smile. "I went to see a dentist, he asked me out and we were still together 54 years later."
"Initially I coped well on my own but later despite the fact that I still had all my faculties and my mobility I found that certain domestic chores were becoming increasingly difficult. I decided it was time to make new plans for my future whilst I was still capable of doing so. I needed to find a new home.
Bessie was already familiar with Larchfield having spent a week's holiday there last summer and after very careful consideration, she took up permanent residence in September, selling her home at that time. "Selling the house was a major step and not something to be undertaken lightly, but coming to Larchfield was absolutely the right decision," she said.
"I have retained my independence which is very important to me. I still have my car, my freedom to come and go as I want, my own room complete with my own furniture and my privacy when I need it. On top of that the medical care is marvellous. On the other hand I no longer have to worry about cooking, cleaning or washing and when I step through the door of my room, my social life, with many new friends is waiting there for me. It's perfect."
An answer to social isolation
The warmth, care and comfort of Larchfield Manor have provided peace of mind for Suzanne Marris and provided a new quality of life for her 89-year-old mother Cath Greenway.
When Cath's husband died four years ago after more than 50 years of marriage, she suddenly found herself isolated and alone in her home town of Hessle with her only child Suzanne living in Harrogate.
"When Dad died, Mum was left on her own," Suzanne explained. "All her friends and relatives had already died by this time and I was the only one left for her, but I was living miles away."
Despite serious health problems of her own, Suzanne spent most of her time commuting between home and Hessle to help her mother through the grieving process. "Mum was becoming depressed and it was simply wearing me out. I knew we had to find a new arrangement," said Suzanne.
"I considered Mum going into care but I felt so guilty that I decided against it. Giving up the family home was a terrible wrench but as an alternative, I arranged for her to move into a complex of warden-controlled flats in Harrogate where I thought she would have company whilst being much nearer to me. Although this overcame the travelling problems, it solved little else. Mum found it difficult to mix or socialise, never really saw anyone and ended up just as isolated as before, effectively trapped in her flat. I found myself visiting her three or four times a day.
"Then one day, on the spur of the moment, I called in at Larchfield Manor. I was impressed from the minute I walked through the door. It was homely, not too big, and the staff were warm and welcoming. We decided to take the plunge and Mum moved in shortly afterwards.
"It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. Mum loves it here. There are no restrictions on visiting so I can come and go as I please and take mum out, the staff and the quality of care are excellent and mum has new friends and a full social life."
"I like the daily comings and goings said Cath. "Everyone is so friendly and willing to chat and I enjoy things like the luncheon trips, the concerts and a game of bingo at the weekend. I'm very happy."
Suzanne has only one regret: "At the time, moving mum into Larchfield seemed like a difficult decision, now I just wish we had done it so much sooner."