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An oasis of calm for the elderly

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

The British Retirement Home, Quinta da Fonte, in São Pedro do Estoril has certainly come a long way since it was founded and financed in 1988 by the British Community in Portugal.

Today it offers an all encompassing service for its 18 residents in a home-from-home atmosphere which these days doesn’t just cater for British retired residents but has residents originating from Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and Brazil, giving it a truly international flavour.

It is a charitable organisation where residents pay monthly fees, relying also on donations and practical support from the community.

Among the organisations most active in supporting the British Retirement Home are the Womens Royal Voluntary Service which fundraises, as well as giving enormous support in the social context and in arranging parties and events, and the British Charitable Fund, which has been going for 150 years and fundraises for British subjects in Portugal.

These days market forces are increasingly evident in the running of Quinta da Fonte, which held its Annual Summer Garden Party on September 11 for 150 guests in the presence of the British Ambassador, Alex Ellis.

“One factor is that many retired people stay longer in their own homes, thanks especially to medical advances and are not coming to retirement residences until they need professional nursing care,” said Michael Simpson, Chairman of Quinta da Fonte.

Another factor which has been good for both Portugal and the protection of residents is the stringent health and safety regulations. Quinta da Fonte has regular inspections by the authorities.

Quinta da Fonte has a fully qualified nurse, Anabela Sousa, who has links with Cascais Hospital and considerable expertise in understanding and caring for the medical needs of aged residents, who range in age from 66 to 99 years old.

“We like to think of Quinta da Fonte as a little oasis within the São Pedro do Estoril conurbation, with its own garden and a wide variety of fruit trees and vines,” said Michael Simpson, who adds that although we can accommodate 18 residents, of these about 20% are resident for recuperative purposes.

“We do not do a lot of advertising. It’s mainly by word of mouth that people get to know us,” he said, stressing that unlike some institutions flexibility is the order of the day.

For instance meals are served both in the dining room and in rooms/apartments if required.

The hard work, care and dedication of the British Retirement Home Technical Director, Pam Santos, and the staff, enables the smooth day-to-day running of the home as well as the help and support of the WRVS’s Chairman Heather Shiell, the British Charitable Fund’s Chairman Brian Mollet and also the Royal British Club which supports many events.

For more information about the British Retirement Home, please visit the website at (English and Portuguese).