Its a fact that we all get older and there is no escaping that!
What I am about to write is not something that we really think about until its necessary, but at some point in our lives we will have to view and possibly help make a decision on where either ourselves or our ageing parents, friends and relatives go to live when they cannot live by themselves anymore.
Having been in this situation a few years back, it is a big a decision and one you want to get right (a bit like choosing the right school for your children), there are so many things to think about including specific medical needs, location and cost.
Nowadays residential living can be more like living in a luxurious hotel rather than a traditional perception of smelly overcrowded rooms full of various seating options.
This was made even more apparent after my recent visit to Signature Beckenham, the home of luxury living for seniors/older adults.
As soon as I entered Signature (after stringent Covid testing) I was wowed by the elegance but homely feel that it has to offer.
I was given a tour of the residence, and ok taking away that it is a brand new site that has just been built so its all shiny and new it was absolutely stunning with so much attention to detail.
On entry you arrive at the Cafe and Bistro, an area where residents and visitors can make / help themselves to hot or cold drinks and snacks, theres a comfortable lounge area to enjoy these refreshments too, along with many little lounge areas and snugs dotted around the ground floor ideal for those who have visitors or want a quieter space to read, play games (a huge selection to choose from) or to watch some television, there’s even a piano to have a tinkle on.
As we moved through the ground floor and passed the lounge areas and snugs we arrived at the beautifully decorated restaurant better known as the Hedgerow – the menu changes daily offering a choice of three course meals, there is also a private dining area for those who would like to dine with family and friends.
Everything has been thought out here at Signature as we carry on through the corridor pictures fill the walls, in this particular area of the building the theme is street maps, all maps of the local area, another there are pictures of places of local interest.
We head to the cinema room think intimate, comfortable and stylish and you won’t be far wrong, it looks incredible and looking around are aptly dispersed pictures on the wall of retro cinema adverts/billboards, and local famous actors past and present.
We then enter the ‘Village Hall’ better known as Applecroft – a great space that is used for residential activities, it has its own kitchen, stage and lighting an ideal space for family parties, birthday parties and as it has external access it is a great space for community groups.
The local Rotary Club is a great example of this as they are regular users of the hall for their own activities as well as collaborating with Signature and the residents too.
On the first floor I find an incredibly inviting library which is adorned with Enid Blyton memorabilia as she was a local resident, and theres also the Bowled over Bistro – A gastro pub/bar area with terrace with a gentle nod to the cricket theme as Kent play at Beckenham. As we head to the terrace which over looks the beautiful landscaped garden which has plenty of eating areas, a bandstand can be seen which not only hosts singing and outdoor activities but hosted the New Years Eve firework display to. The residents can also enjoy the woodland trail that has been created around the grounds. Gazing around the grounds you could be under no illusion that you were at a luxury hotel and spa, not a residential home.
Is where the studios and apartments can be found along with the spa and in this particular residential living there is a special Dementia Care area.
Lets start at the spa – and you really could be mistaken for actually being in a spa hotel, there’s a room for massage, facials and other treatments, that be can taken individually or with others in residence or with guests. Theres a spa bath where residence can relax and enjoy their favourite program whilst surrounded by bubbles, plus there is their very own in house hairdressing salon and barbers. Each resident gets a monthly haircut and pedicure or manicure.
There is also an area for Physio treatment to.
Which are better known as studios or apartments are well planned and thought out, ( I particularly love their names Harry, Grace and Annie! ) each with their own kitchen area and seating area, plus bedroom, some have balconies, all have lovely views of the grounds and what is even better is that they come unfurnished so you can decorate and furnish to how you wish, making it feel comfortable with your own belongings, saying that each room does come with a wall mounted television, call bell and lockable medicine cabinet.
Signature Beckenham has a designated area for residents living with dementia, from someone who has experienced a loved one living with dementia the area for these residents is wonderful, very calming and every little detail has been thought of, larger signs, different kinds of seating, more sensory furnishings and they also have their own restaurant to!
Signature Beckenham encourages their residents to invite guests to come over and visit, some residents pop out and some even have their own cars – it is not an ‘old peoples home’ as such, think more of downsizing before it is to late. Signature has a wonderful social aspect and there are plenty of activities to keep residents and their guests amused and active.
By the time my tour had finished at Signature Beckenham I wanted to stay there myself! It was very apparent that the residents there seem very happy and clearly well looked after
Every staff member I met was warm & friendly, and I could see the care they gave the residents first hand.
If you are in the situation of having to look for a home for an loved one/parent, relative or friend then I definitely recommend having a look at Signature Beckenham, perhaps you are at an age when you don’t want to live by yourself anymore and would like something a little more social but with your own space – Signature ticks that box.
A couple of last bits about the Signature brand;
Signature has recently taken over some of the Sunrise Residential’s making their portfolio of luxury living to choose from even greater.
Everywhere is wheelchair friendly.
The residents are billed weekly and its mainly all inclusive – extras include guests dining and extra spa treatments.
Thanks for the read