‘The Inchmarlo Retirement Village, One Of The First And Still One Of The Best In The UK’ – Sunday Times

We spoke to Charles Skene, founder of Inchmarlo, about how he struck on the concept of a full Continuing Care Retirement Community years before anyone else in the UK, and what it offers you and your family. Today, this level of care is still remarkably hard to find, so read on to discover the difference it can make…

“Well,’ says Mr Skene, ‘the concept came from America. Back in the 80s, I was having lunch in Aberdeen with some colleagues and bankers, and I asked if the bank was financing anything dynamic and interesting. Yes, they said, a continuing care retirement community in the US. I thought this sounded new and exciting – and I love uncovering and acting on new and exciting ideas.’

‘When the Inchmarlo estate and its B-listed country house came on the market in Aberdeenshire we jumped at it. But we knew we’d do things differently. I brought in leading interior designer Jimmy Thomson of Edinburgh’s AF Drysdale to create a stylish home, restoring and renovating Inchmarlo House into a chic and unique care home. This was to be no ordinary retirement community. We built 41 houses and flats to create Queen Victoria Park for independent homeowners, and hired our team.’

‘Inchmarlo opened in 1986, and the new homes hit the market. We were offering something cutting edge and brand new.”

What is Continuing Care?

“Full Continuing Care is still very difficult to find in Scotland and the UK. The idea being that you move onto the estate as an independent homeowner (all homeowners must be aged 55+). As your health patterns change over the years, you can add on additional services in your own home, at your own pace. These can be temporary or permanent measures – we can react to your needs as they change and/or improve. Professionals can visit you as required, or even stay in your spare bedroom if this suits. But it’s all your call, because it’s your home. These services can be arranged independently or come from Inchmarlo House, which offers smart and stylish care home facilities. The ultimate goal is that people stay in their own homes as long as possible. We offer independence, with help as and when it’s required.”

Lifestyle & Companionship

Royal Deeside courtesy of VisitAberdeenshire

“Inchmarlo is about embracing and enjoying life. Situated one mile west Banchory in Royal Deeside, set in 100 acres of countryside, it’s a delightful address. Inchmarlo also offers companionship, which helps combat loneliness. For example, homeowners can be collected to enjoy Afternoon Tea at Inchmarlo House. There’s a licensed bar on site (which is quite rare) and a Friday Village Pub is a popular date in the diary. A host of groups are run and organised by homeowners, such as a Dining Club, which homeowners can tap into if they wish. All these activities keep the mind and body active, but if you’d rather do your own thing, then that’s fine too.”

Customer Liaison Officers

“We employ three full-time liaison officers who visit homeowners several times a year and report back on any additional services they may need, perhaps weight is dropping or memory is changing. We can spot the signs quickly and act immediately, before a homeowner becomes frail, or before an accident happens. This can have a big impact on health in the long run. And it’s hugely reassuring for relatives living elsewhere, who may not be able to check in on their loved ones as often as they’d like.’

‘I personally visit Inchmarlo a few times a week, and everyone knows my face. I’m always on hand for questions and conversation.”

Food 

“Good food is often the key to good health. Homeowners at Inchmarlo can cook fresh meals in their own homes, or pop down to Inchmarlo House to enjoy our notably good cuisine. I am passionate about dining out, experiencing an international range of Michelin star restaurants over the years. People should be able to dine well, whatever their age. I hold a Tasting Club, where myself and a group of homeowners sample dishes, often recipes from famous chefs, and the most popular meals make it straight onto Inchmarlo’s menus. Bon appetit!’

‘As times change, freshly cooked meals can be delivered to people’s homes. This can be organised within hours — no long wait for a carer to be found and dispatched. I completely understand why people go off their food when eating ready-meals heated up by a carer. At Inchmarlo I wanted to offer so much more. Fresh, home-cooked food always tastes better. If you or your loved one is enjoying their food, that’s a core part of good living and good health.”

Security

“Our estate is patrolled by security 24/7. This is ideal for homeowners who wish to enjoy retirement, perhaps embarking on an extensive cruise or holiday, safe in the knowledge that their home is being monitored. It also makes people feel more secure in their own homes on a daily basis.

‘As our homeowners get older the security team can play a slightly different role. If, for example, our team see a light on at 2am, we’ll knock on the door and check you’re okay. In the past, thanks to our security crew, we’ve discovered people shortly after a fall. In the wider community people may wait till a relative, neighbour or carer notices that something’s wrong – it can take days, which is so distressing. This wait can exacerbate the injury, and could lead to a move to a care home if people no longer feel comfortable at home. At Inchmarlo, we can get people immediately checked over and back on their feet. We help people live independently for longer. And if a move to care home is required, it’s just down the road, in a familiar setting, with familiar faces.”

Today at Inchmarlo

“Today Inchmarlo consists of over 190 houses and apartments and a 52 bed care home designated Grade 4 by the Care Inspectorate. We have more exciting plans to make life more entertaining and fulfilling at Inchmarlo, so look out for future articles when we reveal more.’

‘In the meantime, if you or your relatives have any questions about Inchmarlo please contact Dawn Ronaldson on 01330 824981. We’d happily give you a guided tour, send a brochure or answer any queries.”

inchmarlo-retirement.co.uk

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