‘‘Mum was fully reliant on us - she’s grabbed life back with both hands’’

When 91 year old Lula McIntyre moved into a care home, Lula and her family could not have foreseen the joy and pleasure it would bring to all their lives.

After sadly losing her husband in January, Lula’s three daughters needed to ensure their beloved mother wasn’t left on her own. Lula’s daughter Pam explains:

‘‘Dad did everything for mum and she really wasn’t able to look after herself. We toyed with the idea of a care home but it was a very difficult decision to make.

‘‘We agreed we’d have a look to keep our options open. We visited all the care homes in the Magherafelt area and when we came to Milesian Manor, Mum really lit up. We felt this place was truly different and that it was somewhere she could really be happy. Mum was very lonely at home and didn’t smile or interact much. Myself and my two sisters spent our time making sure mum was never alone but that was hard as we have our own commitments, Mum was unhappy and our relationship with her was all about looking after her and making sure she was cared for – it lacked the fun and joy it used to have.’’

Pam added: ‘‘We were impressed with the thought and attention to detail the team has put into the home; including a bar, a wellness garden, a hair and nail salon and even a cinema. They also had a full timetable of activities which saw something new happening every day. Mum was promised that she would never be bored and true to their word, she hasn’t been, not even once. Mum’s days are filled with activities and friends, old and new. Sometimes when we call to suggest lunch and she tells us she’s too busy!”

Milesian Manor Lifestyle Care Home in Magherafelt is a new concept care home and the first-of-its-kind in Northern Ireland providing older people with a lifestyle-inspired home in which to fully enjoy their formative years.

The home focuses on providing residents with a collection of specially created spaces reflecting the things they would have enjoyed previously along with a full programme of daily activities, encouraging independence and a life full of enjoyment. The hope is to ensure that the experience of moving to a care home is a positive one, not only for the resident but for their relatives, who are encouraged to play a big role in their lives.

‘‘Mum is truly happy here, I hadn’t seen her laugh in years, now she is smiling, laughing and telling jokes. We are all enjoying seeing her so happy and sociable again,’’ Pam said.

‘‘Mum is more independent since coming to Milesian Manor than she was at home, where she was fully reliant on us to the point she didn’t even make decisions about what she wanted to eat. Now she’s engaging with the other residents and the staff, making decisions about what she wants to do – she’s grabbed life back with both hands.’’

Lula agrees, explaining: ‘‘I was very nervous about coming here, but the staff were all so lovely and welcoming I thought I’d give it a go – I knew I could always go back home if I wasn’t happy, but within the first two hours of being here, I knew that Milesian Manor would be my new home. I love going to the cinema and always enjoy the activities, I’ve even tried Thai Chi now! I’m very happy here.’’ Lula’s three daughters, along with their own children and grandchildren visit regularly: ‘‘Knowing mum is happy and well cared for is such a relief and such a weight off our shoulders, seeing her here and living her life to the full is truly a blessing. Our perception of what a care home is like is very different to the reality at Milesian Manor. This place is not about end of life care, mum has found a whole new lease of life and is genuinely happy once again.’’

Owned and operated by award winning Macklin Care Homes who have been providing nursing and residential care for older people for over 30 years, expert care on offer ranges from residential, respite, nursing and dementia care along with the Milesian Day Club which offers an escape and relaxing support for residents who need more interaction but are still able to live at home. There are over 50 dedicated staff ranging from specialised nurses to fully-trained carers, and a dedicated lifestyle team including in-house cooks.