media picture

Bournville Gardens - Maureen and Michael Rickards

Michael and Maureen Rickards are interested in moving to Bournville Gardens retirement village in Birmingham when it opens in 2015.

They first heard about ExtraCare when some friends moved to Hagley Road Village in Edgbaston in 2013.

69 year old Maureen says: “I’m very excited about this. I’m surprised they don’t have more of these Villages, it’s such an amazing idea. You get the support if you need it but you still get to keep your independence.

“Our friends have moved into Hagley Road Village. They absolutely love it.”

Although they have lived in their current house for over 40 years, Maureen says that they are ready to move. “It’s just a new adventure for us. It’s a question of looking forward. We’ve been in this house for a long time and we have a lot of memories, so on the day we move out, we’ll be sad and I’ll probably cry a bit, but we have to move forward.”

The couple are eager to prepare for the future. Michael, now 73, had a stroke when he was 39 and Maureen says it made them realise that life can be uncertain.

“You just don’t know what’s going to happen. One day Michael was fine, and the next day he wasn’t. That’s why moving to the Village would be the ideal thing for us. If I die first, Michael won’t be on his own and he’ll be supported, he’ll have the care he needs.

“I care for him at the moment, but you never know. I may need care in the future, or I might die first. He doesn’t speak very well, and he has weakness down his right side. If he was by himself, he wouldn’t be able to manage.

“We’ve got children who would help him pay the bills, but he wouldn’t be able to do things like prepare meals if I wasn’t there. The care team could do that for him, or he could go to the restaurant.

“The whole concept of having everything on site is perfect. Even if you don’t drive, you can still have a life.”

Maureen and Michael currently have a Lifeline phone, which allows them to contact an emergency system quickly if necessary. However, Maureen explains that there are days that it doesn’t work. She says: “So we can’t wait to move to the Village!”

She has already been discussing the move with friends at her gym, and hopes that several of them will consider moving to the Village as well. She says: “I would have thought it was the ideal thing for people on their own, especially. We’ve got each other now, but you don’t know how long that will last.

“We want to plan this, not have it thrust upon us. We don’t want to be older and wish we’d done it years ago!”

Picture: Maureen and Michael helped to bury a time capsule on the site of Bournville Gardens with children from a local school.