76-year-old Judith Jones was one of the first apartment Owners to move into Churchill Retirement Living’s Edinburgh Lodge in Orpington when it was completed in 2022. She did so after a difficult time in her life, when the bungalow she had lived in for 40 years was flooded by a burst water pipe and needed extensive work to make it safe again.
During that time Judith had to spend 6 months living in a local Premier Inn. Afterwards she was reluctant to return to an empty house which no longer contained many of her old furniture and treasured possessions, so instead she decided to make a completely fresh start with a move to a brand new apartment at Edinburgh Lodge. Looking back on it all she is very pleased to have made the change, and feels thankful to be part of a trusted and caring community of new neighbours.
She says: “I’ve got to know all my neighbours very well since moving here and I’ve made some good new friends. We get together regularly for coffee mornings and a chat over a cuppa in the Owners’ Lounge. There’s no pressure to join in and we don’t live in each other’s pockets, but there’s always someone to talk to if I’m feeling like it.
“My one bedroom apartment is nice and spacious, with a kitchen that suits my needs, and a bathroom with a walk-in shower that feels like being in a hotel. I also have a nice balcony with some potted plants which I enjoy looking after. It’s all easy to keep clean and tidy, very bright and full of brand new furniture. I’ve always been content to make do with second hand things throughout my life, so having everything brand new is a real change for me and a real treat – it’s wonderful!
“Our Lodge Manager Dermot is very kind and helpful, he likes organising events like quizzes for us all to enjoy, and he’s good at encouraging people to join in without being too pushy. I also lead an active life outside of the Lodge, I have plenty of friends locally and act as membership secretary for the local National Trust Centre, helping with fundraising for the charity and organising trips. I like to take part in things and join in when I can!”
Judith’s troubles with her old bungalow took their toll on her health, but thankfully she was able to make a good recovery in the comfort of her new apartment and with the support of her new community of friends.
She says: “Being here has helped me get back to normal and feel happy and healthy again. I can’t imagine what it would have been like going back to my old bungalow, I’d probably have been quite lonely and depressed. Even though I’d lived there for 40 years I didn’t have many neighbours left who I felt close to. I already feel much more of a connection to my new neighbours here, and having people around me has really helped me to feel better. There’s a real sense of community here, I’m very grateful and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Edinburgh Lodge is located near the heart of Orpington, just a short distance from the high street. The Lodge is a boutique collection of 27 private, self-contained apartments with spacious rooms throughout, considerately designed with the over 60s in mind, and a warm, comfortable Owners’ Lounge.