With an ageing population, finding centenarians is becoming less rare, but a 99 year old enjoying independent living is still quite a find.
Miss Jean Butchart is her own boss, with her own home, friends and hobbies. When asked what her secret was, she retorted: “Your guess is as good as mine!”
Born in Newcastle, Jean Butchart moved to Scotland aged six months where she grew up and qualified as a teacher in Domestic Science and Home Economics. During the war Miss Butchart taught in a Herefordshire school until a role in Aberdeen’s College of Domestic Science brought Jean to the Granite City in 1948.
After retirement Jean faced the practicalities of the forthcoming years and said: “I realised that it was time, I had no very close relatives that could cope with me if necessary. I had friends in sheltered accommodation so I thought, where do I go?”
After much consideration Jean bought a home in the Inchmarlo Village on Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire. The estate has around 200 privately owned homes as well as the elegant mansion house of Inchmarlo House itself, an onsite residential home that offers a range of facilities that residents can tap into.
Home owners must be over 55 years old but, apart from that, they’re free to savour independent living. At one end of the spectrum they can engage in Inchmarlo’s social scene
or, at other end of the spectrum, check in for respite care in a location they are already familiar with.
Miss Butchart said: “I used to play bridge with several friends. I went down to the house for social forum meetings. I’ve had meals in the bar. I was in the house on respite for a while but I just knew that I wasn’t ready for it [fulltime]. I needed to be there [temporarily] as I couldn’t be here without help.”
After a brief period of care, Miss Butchart’s house was ready and waiting and she now has carers visiting her four times a day to help her retain her independence.