There With You: Octogenarian praises retirement home staff for ‘very good’ lockdown life

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 April 2020

Gordon sat outside his apartment at The Hawthorns.

Gordon sat outside his apartment at The Hawthorns.


An 88-year-old resident at a Clevedon retirement complex walks a mile every day, despite being on daily dialysis, and says he feels ‘among the most fortunate older men in the country’ to be having his every need met during the current lockdown.

Sitting in the ‘glorious’ sunshine outside his apartment at The Hawthorns on Good Friday, Gordon Yates, who moved to Clevedon from the Midlands with his wife five years ago, pondered how lucky he is to be there and decided to give thanks to the staff for everything they do for him, before and after the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “We moved to be nearer our sons, but now, having lost my wife two years ago, they cannot come to me, nor me go to them, but I do feel that in this crazy time of Covid-19 I must be among the most fortunate older men in the country. No cooking, no cleaning, no shopping, and the two-metre distancing maintained.

“So the sun shines for this Easter and I have my television for the news and some company. I have my iPad and computer and speak with my family and friends on FaceTime.

“Last week I joined 17 others from across the world in an on-line art class. With the amazing support from the team at The Hawthorns, life is really very good, and those of us living here are most grateful.”

Gordon’s apartment has a French door opening onto the gardens with a private path around the building. He has discovered if he walks it three times, he has completed a mile, and does this every day.

He said: “I think of individuals stuck in high-rise flats with small children and nowhere to go and play. I think of my own granddaughter, at risk as a diabetic, stuck completely alone in a very small flat in south Devon.

“When I walk, I look across the Bristol Channel to the South Wales coastline in the distance. The promenade is usually full of walkers, joggers, children on bicycles and scooters, and happy holiday crowds. But it is now just empty, and Clevedon Pier thrusts out into the sea alone.”

His days start early with a bowl of porridge and a read of a newspaper which is left at his door, followed by a cooked breakfast left on a table outside his door. Once showered and his dialysis complete, the head chef arrives with a trolley of food and he helps himself to milk, sugar, butter, bread, tea, coffee, fruit juice, yoghurt and fruits as all his meals are included in the rent and during isolation are delivered to him.

His bedding is changed and washed every week, his bathroom is cleaned, he gets fresh towels and clothing is taken away, washed and brought back neatly folded. Post is left at his door.

He added: “Be the lockdown three weeks or three months, this vulnerable old guy will continue to give thanks and enjoy his life.”

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