News Shopper 03 April 2019

Community living beats loneliness

Loneliness can be particularly difficult for the elderly. In fact, recent Age UK research estimates that about 1.7 million people aged over 65 in England can go for a month without meeting up with a friend, and that over 300,000 have not had a conversation with family or friends over the same period. Many older people can sadly feel isolated, unaware that solutions exist to help them feel part of a community.

This is exactly what happened to Stanley Day, 88, a future resident of Birchgrove, a retirement community in Sidcup, due to open shortly. “I was living on my own, nevertheless I was happy,” he explains. “I would have never considered moving out of that until I saw something like Birchgrove.”

Birchgrove, a rental-only development, was built to answer a growing demand from retirees wanting to live in a friendly environment and to be part of a community that looks out for one another. “One thing that struck me -and that is emphasised every time I visit- is the friendship of the people there running the organisation,” Stanley comments. “This shows that they are like-minded, they knew what we wanted – companionship and friendship.”

Due to open on 1 May 2019, Birchgrove will feature 74 modern apartments with one, two and three-bedrooms. Residents will benefit from regular events and hobby groups that contribute to a happier lifestyle and community spirit, with regular trips out also being organised.

Onsite facilities such as a restaurant, club room, library, wellbeing and fitness centre, hairdressing and beauty salon will also contribute to the social aspect of everyday life, with communal gardens available to grow vegetables. “The facilities are here for people to get together, that’s great,” comments Stanley.

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All apartments will feature wide doors and corridors, making them wheelchair accessible, whilst appliances in the kitchens are waist height for easy access. Modern bathrooms come with walk-in showers equipped with simple to use switches, taps and plugs. An onsite guest suite can also be booked via Birchgrove’s concierge service so that residents can host their friends and family.

“Having seen over the apartments, I loved the impression of what I saw,” comments Stanley. “It even surpassed what it looked like in the brochures -I can’t say more than that. 

To help residents make their move as stress-free as possible, Birchgrove also teamed up with The Senior Move Partnership (TSMP) to offer a “Moveasy Package”. The team can assist with all aspects of the move, from putting the current home on the market, decluttering and selling unwanted items, helping shop for new furniture, managing the removal company, and packing and unpacking.

“Certainly, I didn’t want the hassle of buying, selling and all that goes with it, and that takes a lot of that out of the way”, comments Stanley, who is set to move in himself to his new home in early May 2019. “I can’t wait,” he adds. “This is going to be a good place to come and enjoy your ’seniority’, shall we say.”

Those wanting to find out more about living at Birchgrove are welcome to pop into the Sidcup sales office at Queensgate Apartments, 1 Frognal Avenue, Sidcup DA14 6LF. Alternatively, details can be found via or on 020 3929 5599.