All the intangible things really add up

It's not always possible to put a price on happiness. Marion moved to Queensgate Apartments, Sidcup just before the first lockdown and tells us the difference it's made to her life.


I’d lost my husband, he was a musician and teacher and suddenly passed away. Ours was a very happy house full of music but it suddenly just went quiet. I was very lonely and having to shield, so started to look around. I’m a person who needs the company of others.

I first looked at McCarthy & Stone, the one in Sidcup, and my daughter came with me. It was very nice but expensive. The maintenance was very high too, about £780 per month on top of paying for the apartment. That put me right off. On top of that, a friend tried to sell their apartment and couldn’t – yet still has to pay maintenance until it’s sold! 

When I found Birchgrove I was amazed at how lovely it was and my son felt the same, so we started looking at the various apartment options. 

That started me thinking about moving. However what decided me completely, was I woke up one night to hear this terrible banging. I lived in a bungalow, so went into the kitchen, and it was the boiler, and I was frightened. No point in calling family at that hour so I called the gas company at 2am and they asked if I could smell gas. I told them I’ve not been able to smell for years. Thankfully they came immediately but had to turn the gas off. I was left freezing cold and thought this place can’t be for me anymore. 

Birchgrove impressed wonderfully, so I decided to go for it. They offered me a trial stay, but I said, ‘no, I need to make a clean decision whilst I’ve got all my faculties. Life’s not going to get any easier; don’t expect it to.’ 


A year on, I know more than ever, I made the right decision. It’s like being in a hotel; everyone’s so lovely and kind and will do anything for you.

I like getting up and having a coffee morning; that starts me off for the day. Having lunch in the restaurant as I prefer to eat lighter in the evening – means hardly any cooking.

Most of all I love the freedom of being able to do what I want, when I want. Of being around people, seeing them smiling at you, meeting others for a cup of tea or coffee. You know it’s a really great crowd here; they are all lovely. And my family are very much at peace as they worried about me being on my own. That’s very important to me. 

It’s impossible to put a price on what happiness I get living here. Yes, it seemed expensive at first but when I think about all the softer things – not being lonely or worried anymore, it’s worth every single penny. It’s not just simplified my life; it’s given me my life back.

Ready to make yourself at home?

To find out more about a Birchgrove retirement community call us on 020 3929 5599 or complete form. Our show suites are open and viewing is highly recommended.

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