A Sons View


Josie Woodhams, 88, had been living by herself in a four-bedroom house when she realised that her home was becoming too much for her to look after and that it was affecting her quality of life.

Her children suggested that she would benefit from moving to a better-suited home, but they were also all keen to find somewhere that allowed her to retain her independence.

Her son Simon says: “We wanted to find somewhere that was self-contained and where she could have her own home, so we weren’t keen on care homes. On the other hand, we wanted her to live more comfortably and somewhere with a bigger social aspect and with the option of receiving care should she need it.”

When looking at potential new homes for their mother, Simon and his sister agreed that an assisted living model such as Mickle Hill would suit her lifestyle and allow her to enjoy her retirement more comfortably.

They also wished for Josie to move closer to either one of them as they all felt she was becoming too isolated, and agreed that for her to move to Yorkshire, where Simon was living already, was the more interesting choice financially.

“My wife and I retired to the Yorkshire area in December 2018 because she has some family here and we found that we really liked it, and obviously it’s a much more affordable part of the country than the south,” Simon explains. “We live in Kirbymoorside, which is only 6 miles away from Mickle Hill, so the location is ideal. It’s been reassuring having her closer, especially during these difficult times.”

Josie moved into her two-bedroom flat in Mickle Hill’s Pavilion, at the heart of the village, in January 2020. Unlike her old home, her new flat was designed specifically for over 60s, meaning she can enjoy her retirement more comfortably and independently.

Mickle Hill also offers residents access to a number of social groups, events and hobby groups, which Josie enjoyed taking part in prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Simon says: “She lived in a small village before, so for her to see people or to take part in events and social groups would require her to travel to nearby villages. Now she has everything on her doorstep, which is very convenient. She’s been enjoying the onsite bistro and a number of activities, and she joined the choir at Pickering’s Methodist Church.”

While many of these events and activities were put on hold during the Covid-19 lockdown, moving to Mickle Hill has still made a difference on her wellbeing and was very good timing, Simon thinks.

He says: “She would have probably felt a lot more isolated during the crisis if she hadn’t moved. The team and staff at Mickle Hill have been great the whole time, they kept checking up on the residents, made sure they were okay and kept engaging with them. They set up a lot of initiatives to adapt to the lockdown, they really are lovely people.”

Simon visits Josie every Tuesday to drop off groceries and have a chat. As his sister was unable to visit due to the restrictions in place, the fact that his mother now lives so close to him and that he was able to visit made a big difference on her wellbeing at this difficult time.

“I don’t know if I could have visited her if she still lived in her former house,” Simon says. “The staff at Mickle Hill put this system in place that allows us to visit and have a chat in the gardens outside, so that there is enough room for social distancing and that everyone keeps safe. It’s been really good to be able to see her, because I know that she is well, looked after, and that she doesn’t feel isolated.”

Even though Josie hasn’t had a lot of time to make the most of Mickle Hill before the Covid-19 restrictions came into place, Simon is confident he is already seeing an improvement in his mother’s wellbeing.

“The main thing at Mickle Hill is that she feels more supported, with a lot more people around her. There is also a quality feel about the village. Her flat is very high standard and adapted to her needs, and she knows that there is always help at hand so she doesn’t have to worry about looking after anything.”

He concludes: “She is a lot more confident and I really feel the care and support she is receiving at Mickle Hill allows her to enjoy her retirement more independently. It’s been a very positive move.”

Simon Woodhams July 2020