Life comes full circle for pensioners

Bill and Sheila sharing memories
Bill and Sheila sharing memories

By Cara Sulieman

LIFE HAS come full circle for two OAPs who helped open a new day care centre in the capital yesterday.

Bill Hoatson, 81, and Sheila Allan, 78, were both pupils at the North Merchiston Primary School, which used to sit on the same site.

And now the pair are looking forward to enjoying a barrage of activities at the day care centre including day trips and lunches.

It has been 70 years since they both walked through the door of the Edinburgh building, and both pensioners are excited about revisiting their old haunt.

“Stay at home longer”

Bill said: “I can’t believe that I used to come to the primary school in my younger days and now I am here again as a pensioner.

“I’m really pleased that this service is here as it is much better than sitting at home alone.

“I enjoy the company and speaking to other people who live in this area as we all chat about how things have changed over the years.

“Coming here has made a real difference as I had thought about going into a care home but using the day care service means I can stay at home longer.”

“Make new friends”

And Sheila is looking forward to reminiscing about the old days with her new friends.

She said: “I have many happy memories from my days at school here as it really was a good school.

“Now I am delighted to be able to come to the Day Care Service and meet up with people and talk about the old school, the area and make new friends.

“It is a great service that is being provided and all the staff are very friendly, I always look forward to coming here.”

Day trips

The day care service, a wing of the new North Merchiston Care Home, provides a comfortable setting for up to 18 people a day to receive support from City of Edinburgh Council care staff.

The opening heralds a caring and supportive service for older people so that they can enjoy a better quality of life. It also marks an investment by the Council in developing new purpose-built day services across the city replacing existing older ones.

At the day care service older people enjoy activities with their friends, day trips, and lunches. It gives them a lively, welcoming atmosphere in their local community, while helping them remain in the security of their own homes.

Barbara Hacking, manager at the day care centre, said: “It’s like a home from home for the people who come here and because the numbers are small we can better tailor our service to meet their needs.

“The service also provides much needed respite care for family members who can now have some time to themselves whilst knowing their relatives are being well looked after.”

“Good quality”

Councillor Paul Edie, Health and Social Care Convener for City of Edinburgh Council, said the new service demonstrated the Council’s commitment to improving older people’s services in the Capital.

He said: “It is important to develop good quality services to meet the needs of our growing older population so they can live as independently as possible at home – day care services like North Merchiston allow this to happen.

“This is a fine example of custom built facilities providing an even higher quality day care service than was previously available.

“Without these facilities many would be completely isolated in their own homes but they can now build and develop relationships and contacts with people in their own community and our staff.”