From growing up in a big family in Christchurch to being happily married for 63 years, Alma Millward has had plenty of company throughout her whole life.
So, when the option to move to a Summerset serviced apartment came up, Alma and daughter Maree were naturally a little nervous it might be a bit on the quiet side for her. Since the move, they've discovered it's been anything but quiet.
"I don't think you'd ever need to feel lonely here. It's just like a big family…and there's always something going on," remarks Alma. When she first arrived at her serviced apartment, Alma had her husband by her side. Sadly, he passed away shortly after due to ongoing health issues.
"I thought it might take her a little while to deal with the loss of dad and the new surroundings but it was quite amazing really how quickly she settled — and I think that was down to the staff," recalls daughter Maree. While the move was a big decision, the whole family feel that Alma has "blossomed" since and has become more herself again.
"She's involved herself in things that she hadn't done for years — a choir, exercising. She's just taken it with both hands…made friends…and it's all been just amazing."
Maree and Alma both admit the stigma of retirement living put them off for longer than it needed to: "I think mum was just so delighted when she came here and realised how welcoming and how well-run [the place was] and what care was here for her.
I think it was an eye-opener, really." A self-professed 'fussy' person, Alma was also delighted with the high standards of the staff: "They do all the cleaning and upkeep.
Everything is just how you'd love it to be if you were at home or with family," she says. Having Alma living at home with her would have been a dream for Maree but, with the reality of working all day, she worried her mum would be very bored.
But Alma hasn't had time for boredom since moving to Summerset: "There's so much to keep you occupied: music, happy hour twice a week, little outings. It's a lovely place to be." Alma also fills her time with a cheeky bit of cleaning, even though she doesn't need to lift a finger.
"I don't think she leaves a lot for the staff to clean, but that's mum," laughs Maree. "It's a relief for us to know that she's taken care of. Dad would be so pleased to see she's in a place like this. It's just been a godsend."
To find out more about Summerset Serviced Apartments call 0800 334 442 or visit summerset.co.nz/servicedapartments