The Scrip Purse: Living well in later life

W Bro Darrel Palmer PAGSwdB, Metropolitan Grand Almoner

In this edition of The Scrip Purse, we are focusing on the RMBI Homes. We hope that it’s not just informative but also contributes towards those times when you have to make genuinely life-changing decisions.

Recent figures released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the number of centenarians living in England and Wales is at an all-time high, with nearly 14,000 people being over 100 in 2021.* Meanwhile, the population aged 65 and over in the UK is also projected to increase by almost one third in the next 20 years.**

People living longer is, of course, something to be celebrated, but it is not exempt from challenges. If you or your loved one are experiencing difficulties in managing day-to-day and living independently, even when you get help from care workers and family, moving into a care home may be a good option.

The wrong care home can be disastrous to health, wellbeing and quality of life – and there are all too many horror stories of families enduring sub-standard care. 
But the right care home can provide you with the care and support you need to continue to enjoy life, as well as giving your loved ones peace of mind knowing that you are in good hands at all times.

Supporting older Freemasons and their families

Freemason Malvern Barnett moved into the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) Care Co. Home, Prince Michael of Kent Court, in Hertfordshire, in October 2022. He made the decision after speaking to a friend, the Almoner at his Lodge, who recommended a visit to the care home in Watford.

“You will know when you walk in that you have found the right place,” says Judith Barnett, Malvern’s wife. “We had seen some other care homes, but I liked the atmosphere here; it felt like a caring place,” she adds.
Other residents agree. Recent reviews from the independent carehome.co.uk website include:

• “The atmosphere is relaxed, happy and non-regimented. The residents are continually told this is their home which gives them a sense of belonging along with being treated at all times with dignity and care.” Husband of a resident at Zetland Court, Bournemouth. August 2023

• “Mum and Dad are very, very happy here and have made lots of new friends with the other residents. I have total peace of mind with Mum and Dad being in such a wonderful place.” Daughter of resident at Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Court, Berkshire. May 2023

Since moving into his new home, Judith has noted many positives, including Malvern making many friends and becoming more affectionate. Her advice to those at the beginning of their journey to find the right care home is to “look thoroughly and listen to what residents are saying” when visiting a care home for a tour.

Staying active in body and mind

“Keep interested in things and keep your brain working,” says 84-year-old Eunice Holding, who lives at RMBI Care Co. Home James Terry Court, in Croydon. Eunice moved to the care home with her husband Alan in 2017 to receive daily support for their needs. Alan lives in the nursing area and Eunice lives in the residential area.

Eunice was born in Dalston, London, just a few months before the Second World War started. When she finished school, she worked in the City for an insurance company as an office junior and progressed onto working with overseas accounts, converting currencies. Eunice and Alan met through a marriage bureau and they were married within two years of dating, when Eunice was aged 25.

“It’s important to me to stay busy and engaged,” adds Eunice, who says she most enjoys the musical entertainment at James Terry Court, which is organised by the Home’s activities team. She also likes craftwork and puzzles and has knitted an array of colourful scarves since moving in.

About the RMBI Care Co.

Moving into a care home yourself or helping a loved one take that next step can be a challenging process, often full of questions or concerns about how it all works. RMBI Care Co. offers advice and support for: 

Different types of care:

RMBI provides residential care, nursing care and residential dementia support to older Freemasons, their families and people in the wider community. They can support older people looking for permanent care or a short stay.
Your care needs assessment

Before a person moves into a care home, a care needs assessment will be undertaken to determine the type of care the person will need. This may be conducted by your local authority as well as the care home, depending on who will be funding the placement. If you wish to have a free assessment for yourself or a loved one, contact your local authority. They will use the details you provide to create a practical support plan.

Eligibility

RMBI supports older Freemasons, their families and wider relations. You or your loved one may be eligible for support, even if you are not dependent on a Freemason; this, for example, includes parents, in-laws, siblings and grandparents. RMBI also provides care for people in the wider community that do not have a connection to Freemasonry, but are able to fund their own care (self-funding). Where a Home has a waiting list for residents, priority will always be given to Freemasons, as long as the Institution can support their needs. 

Funding your care

Care home fees will vary depending on the area that you live in, the individual care home itself and your own financial circumstances. You may also be eligible for financial support from your local authority, subject to a financial assessment. If you would like further advice about funding a placement in an RMBI Care Co. Home, please speak to a member of the team for more information.

For advice and support about your care needs, please contact:
Debbie Hollands: 07392 870 304, DHollands@rmbi.org.uk or 
Hazel Salter: 07717 019 752, 
HSalter@rmbi.org.uk
Alternatively, visit rmbi.org.uk/our-homes/ for further details and contact your nearest care home.

Sources:
* Centre for Ageing Better, 2023 https://ageing-better.org.uk/news/record-number-centenarians-reminder-we-need-better-prepare-ageing-population
** ONS, 2022. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/ 

Open Day at Watford’s RMBI care home
Trustee, W Bro Doug Brodie PAGStB reports.

Prince Michael of Kent Court, the RMBI care home in Watford, held its annual Open Day on Sunday 8th October. The event, organised by the Association of Friends of Prince Michael of Kent Court, welcomed representatives from some 60 Lodges to the event; many brought their families, too.

Visitors were greeted with refreshments and given guided tours around this beautiful, modern care home, which is rated “outstanding” by the CQC. Facilities include the newly built Orangery, which has sky-design ceiling lighting, the 1960s street themed garden with shop-fronts, an original red phone box and traffic lights; and the new fitness centre with specially adapted exercise bikes. The recently refurbished in-house shop was open for business and visitors also enjoyed playing music on the jukebox.

The Association of Friends provides many little extras for the happiness and wellbeing of the residents such as social activities and entertainment events. It also provides therapy equipment and other items for the wellbeing of residents, these being over and above what is provided by the RMBI.

Some families also used the Open Day to find out about residential, dementia care and respite packages available at Prince Michael of Kent Court.

During the event, three Lodges also presented generous donations to the Association of Friends of PMKC.

For more information about Prince Michael of Kent Court, visit https://rmbi.org.uk/home/prince-michael-of-kent-court-watford/

For more information about the Association of Friends of PMKC, visit www.pmkcfriends.co.uk



This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 53 December 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 53 here.