ABBEYFIELD

When I started my nomadic journey, if you remember, I was looking for what I called Betty’s Mountain Top. My concept was to find a facility that as I age I may want to be a part of. It would have to have access in some way to all ages and my main want, is good conversation around the dinner table with people from around the globe. As I have travelled I have found numerous projects, and I have looked at many all over the world. I have not been impressed. It has nothing to do with the structure and how fancy, or posh it is, it has to do with the quality of care and how relaxed and happy the residents seem. I remember very many years ago looking for home for my Mother. It was very difficult and the one thing that I hate to see is wheelchairs lined up outside or inside with residents that have blank stares, that is very sad. I saw this years ago and you still see that today.

I attended a book launch in London for my friend Jenny’s book that dealt with relationships in care homes and how important they are for the wellbeing of the residents. Jenny had spent time researching a group called Abbeyfield. They own and operate about 100 facilities in the UK. I became interested in what I heard so I made contact in the south of the UK and was invited to Lochs Heath in Swanwick, which was arranged by a former Board Member for me.

Lochs Heath has 16 residents, of numerous ages, some are mentally challenged; others have dementia; some just seem to feel very comfortable there.

The staff led by Neil, was just caring in every way and it wasn’t put on, they just had patience, and compassion in every situation. I was there for over 4 hours! I spent an hour without staff just chatting with residents about their background, health and what they thought of spending rest of their life in this facility. Whenever they talked about this place, they would have a big smile on their face. THEY WERE HAPPY.

They each had their own flat in the building. The ones I saw had a sitting room, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. They were a very good size with lots of windows overlooking the garden.

For me, this location wasn’t on the sea or on mountain top, but in terms of requirements, it ticked most of the boxes, involvement from the community, the community would just drop in to say hi, or bring treats for the residents, bring in new movie etc. The residents were living independent lives within this structure, good healthy food and even a glass of sherry or wine at lunch.

Lochs Heath is a very special model!

To Neil, staff and the residents thank you a most lovely visit!

About Betty Steinhauer

Betty Steinhauer was born in England and raised in Toronto, Canada. Even as a young mother, Betty was active in the community sitting on a number of boards and lending her expertise to various public organizations. In 1983, she founded Betty Steinhauer & Associates Ltd. a consulting firm where, for twenty-five years, she used her unique abilities to act as a catalyst, facilitator and advisor to both the private and public sectors, in forging relationships between organizations and/or individuals for mutually advantageous outcomes. For many years, Betty travelled widely in out-of-the-way areas of the world. As she travelled, the idea for The People Bridge Charitable Foundation was formed. The People Bridge was registered as a Canadian charity in 1997. The mandate of the Foundation was to facilitate important changes in the lives of ordinary people through small-scale charitable projects. Betty has now retired the Foundation that, during its lifetime, undertook over 100 projects worldwide, mostly in conjunction with organizations already working in the target area. Betty’s experience and expertise in business, along with the advice and assistance she receives from colleagues around the globe, give her a unique ability to spot the need and understand how it can be met. Betty has the unusual combination of an entrepreneur’s abilities and an intrinsic understanding of people. Betty has visited India seventeen times in the past twenty years to pursue her spiritual journey. She has frequently been a guest of the Brahma Kumaris and the World Spiritual University to study meditation and further her own spiritual life. Betty is currently active with the Steering Committee of the Spirit of Humanity Forum, in Reykjavik, Iceland. This is an annual Forum that, it is felt, will become to the spiritual world what the Davos Forum is to the financial world. Betty makes her home in Toronto, and has published her memoir “My Way”. She began her Nomadic Internship in the summer of 2013.
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3 Responses to ABBEYFIELD

  1. Mary Anne Morel says:

    Betty, this community model looks like a loose approximation of what my daughter says she is looking for when she gets to that point in time. She is looking for a modern beguinage-type community where single and married adults of retirement age and lively intellect live interdependently and engage with each other every day, in a common area. She too is interested in great conversation around a dinner table, which is easier to do if you live in a purposely designed and chosen community.

    A few years ago, the two of us visited a historic beguinage in Bruges–a collection of delightful, hobbit-like, self-contained huts grouped alongside a beautiful treed green space, with a larger convent building across the green acting as an anchor. Nowadays, these small apartments are still lived in, possibly by retired nuns of the Benedictine order that currently oversees the beguinage complex. As many people know, the original beguines were determined single women who, in a tight-knit 12th-century society that did not know what else to allow them to do, maintained a hard-won and precarious independence by acting as caregivers to the community at large. They were not a religious order exactly, but all beguinages operated in safety only because religious sensibility operated within each of them.

    The physical layout of the beguinage seemed so practical for interdependent living that I wondered why it hadn’t been used more by developers as a retirement model. Perhaps it has been, somewhere. At any rate, Betty, I hope your lengthy journey culminates in such a place for you and others.

  2. bkjoanne says:

    I enjoy letters and numbers so I see a connection between Heath and Health … all the best in your searching for the ideal …

  3. Briony Bax says:

    Simon’s mother was in an Abbeyfield home in Bradford-on-Avon, very nice place it was too.Bx Briony Bax Editor, Ambit Magazine www.ambitmagazine.co.uk  Poetry Editor, The New Europeanwww.theneweuropean.co.uk

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