Suzi Grant - Alternative Ageing

Positive ageing with Suzi Grant, the nutritionist with a passion for fashion.

I give a talk at a Retirement Living development and have a good look round!

I give a talk at a Retirement Living development and have a good look round!


(#AD This is a sponsored post but all views are totally my own)

I have never thought about eventually buying a property in a Retirement Living development until I saw this McCarthy and Stone Assisted Living development in Southsea. My best friend pointed it out and told me that her 80 year old sister was refusing to consider moving in there, despite feeling very lonely since her husband died, as well as needing to down-size, big time. I surprised myself by saying that I would, if I was in her position, in a heartbeat! Weirdly, just a month later, I was invited by McCarthy and Stone to visit another of their developments to give a talk on ‘How to Live Life to the Full’, and to have a good look around.

Tudor Rose Court, Southsea. A McCarthy and Stone, Retirement Living Plus development for the Over 70s.

Tudor Rose Court, Southsea. A McCarthy and Stone, Retirement Living Plus development for the Over 70s.

McCarthy and Stone developments fall into two categories; Retirement Living Plus, for people over 70 who may need some additional help and support, as well as enjoying access on-site to a bistro and a communal lounge. Then there’s Retirement Living; designed for the over 60s who are more independent but would appreciate a communal lounge on-site to meet for a coffee, cards or a big match on TV.

I was off to visit the latter. Langton House, near Croydon, is in the leafy village of Warlingham. For the over 60s. I was, originally, booked into their Guest Suite, available to home owners for when family and friends come to visit. I was a bit apprehensive as I have never visited anywhere like this before. But I was in for a treat and a few surprises so left my prejudices in the on-site car park and went to check-in.

Langton House, Warlingham, Surrey. A McCarthy and Stone Retirement Living development for the Over 60s.

Langton House, Warlingham, Surrey. A McCarthy and Stone Retirement Living development for the Over 60s.

All McCarthy and Stone’s developments offer one or two bedroom apartments so when I was told that I was staying in one of their ‘Try Before You Buy’ apartments, instead of a Guest Suite, I was thrilled. (What a good idea that is, I wish I could spend 2 nights in any property I might buy in the future!) Lovely Janet, from Sales, had filled the fridge full of goodies for me and I felt as if I was in a 5 star hotel rather than a Retirement development! These are all my own photos so you can see what I saw as I walked in………

This is my bedroom for the night, not bad eh?! This photo was supplied to me by McCarthy and Stone as the light was fading by the time I got round to unpacking (there’s a walk-in wardrobe and fluffy white dressing gowns are laid on for guests who want to spend two nights here trying before they buy). I really didn’t expect it to be so luxurious and spacious!

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There are two bathrooms in the two bed apartments with spacious walk-in showers (you can ask for a bath in one) and, although the second bedroom isn’t huge, it works very well as a study and can easily be used for the odd guest to stay over.

You know me, it’s always the little things that impress me. The design and build of these apartments is very high spec: the doors are modern and well-made and all the light switches are permanently illuminated so you don’t get lost in the dark on the way to the loo. There’s a 24 hour emergency button, a large laundry room and even the corridors are beautifully furnished!

There are also guest suites available for residents who want a friend or family to stay over. The prices vary from development to development but, again, these rooms are far superior to most hotels rooms!

An example of the guest suites that McCarthy and Stone developments have for overnight visitors.

An example of the guest suites that McCarthy and Stone developments have for overnight visitors.

The rain had stopped so I enjoyed a wander around the well-maintained gardens before popping into Warlingham for a curry! The majority of McCarthy and Stone developments are close to town or the local village and Langton House was close enough for a lovely ten minute walk into town.

The gardens at Langton House. Who wouldn’t enjoy a drink out here on a summer’s evening?

The gardens at Langton House. Who wouldn’t enjoy a drink out here on a summer’s evening?

Warlingham itself is a pretty village with all the shops and amenities that you’d expect, including the trusty Co-op. And my curry was just magnificent. My ‘phone signal had been non-existent so I was grateful to catch up with some work before ending up in a curry coma!

The next morning it was time for my talk on ‘Living Life to the Full’ well over 60. I covered fashion, lifestyle and, of course, health. (I’ve popped my list of the best foods for brain health at the end of the blog, along with a memory-boosting short video!) The talk was held in the communal lounge where residents can meet up with like-minded neighbours and have a chat and a cuppa, a game, or a special event like this one.

Hot drinks and cup cakes laid on for the audience.

Hot drinks and cup cakes laid on for the audience.

As someone who actually asked to go to boarding school, I think a communal lounge a really good idea if you like a community on-tap. According to a survey carried out by McCarthy and Stone, one in five older people say they are lonely, feel invisible and rarely tell anyone how alone they feel, least of all their families. A growing problem today, at any age, because we’ve lost our small tight-knit communities that all us humans need!

These fabulous photographs were taken by Jason Mitchell…….

Giving my positive ageing talk in Langton’s communal lounge.

Giving my positive ageing talk in Langton’s communal lounge.

I was supposed to talk for 10 minutes but 40 minutes later I was still going strong! I had so much to share, apart from the cupcakes, with this lovely audience, many of whom had come from nearby as well as those already living at Langton House.

Talking about olive oil and how we could only buy it in chemists for our ears in the 50s!

Talking about olive oil and how we could only buy it in chemists for our ears in the 50s!

One of the reasons my ten minute talk went on for so long was because the audience participation was absolutely fantastic! A retired doctor, Dr. M Sreetharan, showed us how he still does yoga head stands in his 80s. (I did have to keep saying ‘please don’t try this at home’!)

Dr. M Sreetharan, practising daily yoga headstands!

Dr. M Sreetharan, practising daily yoga headstands!

I also invited nearly 90 year old Doreen Russell up to the front to show the audience how you can still be full of life, look stylish, wear colour and even heels at any age! She was my absolute heroine. We can only hope to look that good at 90. Her secret to old age? Stay relevant, enjoy life, be positive, keep dancing and eat anything - in moderation!

The wonderful nearly 90 Doreen showing us her heels and sharing her longevity secrets.

The wonderful nearly 90 Doreen showing us her heels and sharing her longevity secrets.

I so enjoyed sharing my top tips on how to live an independent and active life with this delightful audience and met many of them after the talk to chat about living in a retirement development and hearing about their health challenges. I also got to give a signed copy of my Alternative Ageing book away to someone who correctly answered one of my brain food questions! Nothing wrong with her brain!

Some of the Langton House residents and their guests………

So what do I think about retirement living after my visit? For anyone with an ageing parent or grandparent, I definitely think it’s worth them considering down-sizing from a huge house and making the move to somewhere secure and well maintained before they’re too old to make that move! Would I move into one myself? Probably not in my soon to be enjoyed 70s, as long as I stay healthy and fit. But who knows how I will feel a decade from now. I sometimes like company on-tap but I also need to close my own front door and hide from the world, which you can do at all McCarthy and Stone developments. I also like the idea of help on hand 24/7, if an emergency arises, something I worry about as I get older, living alone.

I was very taken with the location of Tudor Rose Court in Southsea because I can’t imagine living without a view of the sea but, in my old adage, I think I need McCarthy and Stone to build Retirement Living developments somewhere with longer summers! How about the South of France? Anyone joining me?

Finally, a big thank you to all the staff at McCarthy and Stone for their kind hospitality during my visit. (click here to see all their locations.)

Here’s the list I shared of the very best foods for the brain and, if you click on the video below, you can see an easy way to remember that list, by using parts of your body! It will amuse and I bet you’ll remember them all.

THE BEST FOODS FOR BRAIN HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF YOUR ENTIRE BODY.

Walnuts, avocado, blueberries, broccoli, olive oil, an apple a day, all dark leafy green veg, turmeric, seeds and other nuts (not salted or peanuts), pulses, plenty of water and a chunk of 80% cacao, dark chocolate every day! There’s more on why these foods are so important on the video below.

I would love to hear from you in Comments below. Do you live in a Retirement development? Would you consider one for yourself or your folks?

See you soon,

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Second Hand September!

Second Hand September!

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