This mental health week focuses on the importance of outdoor spaces and the positive effect being outdoors can have on wellbeing.
We spoke to West End Village resident Ivy. She told us all about how the communal gardens there have been her saviour throughout lockdown. And how being outside with nature helped her after losing her husband to the deadly virus.
“We moved to West End Village nearly nine years ago. We were having issues with anti-social behaviour. The alleyway next door was attracting troublemakers who were coming onto our property and damaging it. We’d had enough, so we decided to move and found the village.”
Ivy and her husband settled in well, made lots of friends and enjoyed meeting up in the communal areas. But things took a turn for the worst when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. And Ivy's husband was rushed to hospital. As she explains:
“My husband went to hospital on Christmas Eve. He had a bad case of cellulitis. He was on a drip, and although it was serious, he was recovering and due to come home. But then he caught COVID-19.”
“I was so worried about him that I made myself ill. I went into hospital and eventually caught COVID-19 too.”
“As I was brought into hospital on the 7 January, and he died the next day. I didn’t get to say goodbye.”
“Before he died, he kept asking for me. But I was poorly. To make sure he didn’t worry about me, everyone told him I couldn’t make it out because of the weather. Then right before he died he said ‘make sure you tell her I love her’."
“We were married for 51 years and it was so hard to adjust to life on my own. It just didn’t seem real.”
Ivy’s family and friends were really supportive. Village staff did all they could to help Ivy through this difficult time. But she found real solace by relaxing in the gardens.
“The village staff were amazing; nothing was too much trouble. But it was going outside that helped with my mental health. I was able to smell the grass, see the flowers and hear the birds sing. It was beautiful, and I’m so grateful to have had this space throughout the pandemic. It’s been my escape.”
“I’m looking forward to when restrictions lift when I can meet up with family and friends again.”
Find out more about our homes for over 50’s here