Age UK’s Gifted Housing Service

This is my kitchen which everybody who
comes here seems to envy me, because nobody seems to have got a kitchen this size. So I suppose I’m very lucky to have it actually. Coming through here into what what is my sitting room come work room, and I love this room because it’s light and airy. And I’ve got far too many things, I know that. Clutter, people call it, and they de-clutter
things these days, but I don’t. I just gather more and more, I think. The Gifted Housing Service means I can stay in my flat for as long as I am physically able to, and without worry. Age UK’s gifted housing service is a unique service where older homeowners donate the property to the
charity, and in return the charity look after their house, maintain it, and also care for them for
the rest of their lives, enabling them to stay living in their homes much longer than they might otherwise have been able to do. We decided to sign up to it, I suppose it’s about six years ago now, because my husband was very ill and he knew that he hadn’t got very long to live basically. When people are first
considering joining Gifted Housing they may have just heard a little about in an
advert. So they phone the office and they’ll have a chat with myself or one of my
colleagues to find out more about it. ‘Good morning, Gifted Housing Service, Carol speaking.’ We were told right from the outset that we had to think very
carefully about this because obviously it was a huge decision to make. Typically,
people who are interested in the service may find that they’re on their own, or it’s just them and their partner in later life, and they don’t have anyone
else to support them and that’s often a reason people will come to us. We finally
signed up with gifted housing only months before Jeff died in fact. It’s been an absolute godsend to me being on my own. Once a donor’s signed up to the service,
there’s a lot of support they can expect in various areas. Support with property
maintenance – that’s both the financial support that we’re paying for it, but
also the practical support we can arrange. It gives me great peace of mind
because I know that if something major goes wrong, for instance you know with central heating or something like that, that it will be mended, it’ll be done for me, because I really
don’t have the funds to be able to do anything like that. Just as important as
the property maintenance side and the financial side is the care support we
give via the care coordinators. Wendy Sawyers is my care coordinator, and she comes over I suppose every six weeks or so to see me. ‘Hello, Wendy! Come in. How are you? How was the journey?’ ‘Oh, it was fine actually. I was staying down the road so it wasn’t too bad.’ ‘How are you finding the new steps outside, Jill?’ ‘It’s jolly good, because I come in with heavy shopping, and I have over-balanced holding shopping before, and I’ve got something really to grab on to.’ We usually sit and chat at the kitchen table or out in the garden, and discuss anything that we think’s needed – either I think’s needed or Wendy thinks I ought to be doing. I get on with her really well, and she’s very
reassuring. The whole service is very reassuring. We get some lovely
comments come in cards and verbally from our donors who say they feel really
supported, that they don’t have to worry anymore, that they feel that they’re phoning a family member or a friend when they phone the office or speak to their care
coordinator, and that’s exactly how we want it to feel for them. I’ve never felt that it wasn’t my home. I’ve always been made to feel it is properly my home, and they never make you feel otherwise.

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