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Ideal Downsizing For Retiree Isobel In Bedford

Posted 5 October 2021 by Keith Osborne

Isobel has found a perfect place to live at Oakhill Park, close to family and with great support and a lively social scene...

Isobel Barford has travelled to many far-flung corners of the world, with her love of cruising taking her to countries such as Alaska, Russia, Israel, and most of the Mediterranean. Having settled into McCarthy Stone’s Oakhill Place Retirement Living Plus development on High View in Bedford, Isobel is excited for new adventures a little closer to home.

The opportunity to be part of a supportive and sociable community was behind Isobel’s decision to move from her three-bedroom house in Ampthill to Oakhill Place and, as she explained, she wanted to move quickly.

“My late husband, Michael, and I had been looking into moving to a McCarthy Stone retirement community,” Isobel said. “We had been to see the development in Stony Stratford, and we liked what we saw, so we put our names down for an apartment at the Ampthill development, which was under construction.

“Sadly, my husband passed away in July 2018 – a year after we had celebrated our golden wedding anniversary – and it was lonely in the house without him. I went to find out more about the new Oakhill Place development in Bedford in August 2019 and I decided to reserve an apartment there, as it was going to be completed before the Ampthill development.”

Former carer Isobel and former Vauxhall Motors employee Michael had lived in Ampthill since 2015, when they made the decision to move from their bungalow in Norfolk – leaving behind their boat on the Norfolk Broads. They wanted to be within closer reach of their daughter and youngest son, who also live in Ampthill, after Isobel experienced a period of ill health.

“I told my family about my plans to downsize from the three-bedroom house and they were all for it,” Isobel explained. “My daughter would probably have liked it if I had moved a little closer to her, but it all worked out really well and she ended up buying my old house!

“Within just two months, I had moved into Oakhill Place. It was very quick. I was the first person to get the keys to my apartment and to call the new development ‘home’. One of the McCarthy Stone managers stayed in the guest suite on the first night, so that I wasn’t on my own. More people started to move-in the next day and the community has grown around me.”

Oakhill PlaceMcCarthy and Stone’s Retirement Living Plus developments are designed exclusively for the over-70s and offer retirees the opportunity to maintain an independent lifestyle, while also having access to domestic assistance packages which can be tailored to individual requirements.

Oakhill Place features a homeowners’ lounge, ideal for socialising; landscaped gardens in which to relax; and a hotel-style guest suite, which provides a comfortable stay for visiting family and friends. Designed to provide complete peace-of-mind, there is an estate team on hand around the clock, along with a security entrance system and 24-hour emergency call points.

Isobel continued: “I’ve got a lovely apartment with a balcony which overlooks the courtyard and faces the sun. I bought some new furniture before I moved and I love the fitted wardrobe in the bedroom, there’s lots of storage space. I definitely enjoy having less housework to worry about!

“It was quiet at first, but more and more people moved in and we started to have weekly coffee mornings, which were great. We would also get together on a Friday evening in the homeowners’ lounge and have a movie night.

“Of course, when Covid hit, that all changed. Our estate manager, Ronan, and his team did a great job – sanitising everything and making sure there was hand sanitiser everywhere. They would walk around every day at 11.00am and then stand in the courtyard, and myself and the other homeowners would come out onto our balconies and wave to each other and talk to Ronan. The bistro was closed but meals were delivered to our rooms. I always felt part of a community – we would all clap for the NHS every week and there was even a sing-along for VE Day.

“I was shielding, but I always felt safe at Oakhill Place and fortunately we’ve had no cases of Covid here. If I had been in my old house during the pandemic, I would have probably gone days without seeing anyone, but here I’ve had people all around me and I didn’t feel lonely.

Isobel Barford“We have such fantastic facilities at Oakhill Place, and now that restrictions are relaxed I have been enjoying getting together with others for coffee mornings and movie nights. While I’ve got no plans to go overseas or go on a cruise, I have been making plans to go on holiday in the UK. It might not be the Rocky Mountains, but my eldest son lives in Beccles and a trip to see him and maybe visit the nearby coastal towns and villages will be just as amazing!”

Samantha Watkins, divisional sales and marketing manager for McCarthy Stone, said: “It’s very rewarding to see people such as Isobel find the sense of community and companionship that they were looking for at Oakhill Place, and to hear that they feel safe surrounded by like-minded individuals and with our dedicated estate team on hand to help.”

Prices at Oakhill Place currently start from £237,000 for a one-bedroom apartment and from £319,000 for a two-bedroom apartment. There are now more options available for those looking to downsize in Bedford, with rental options now available to make moving even easier.

More than nine out of ten customers would recommend McCarthy Stone to a friend, ensuring it has received the full 5-star award for customer satisfaction from the Home Builders Federation for 14 years’ running, the only UK housebuilder of any size or type to achieve this.

Find out more about Oakhill Park from McCarthy Stone.


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