Pilgrim Gardens – where God puts the lonely in families Mandy Smith, manager at Pilgrim Gardens, shares about family life at the retired living community in Leicester. At a recent Christian conference for women it upset me to hear two of the speakers, speak of their fear of growing old alone. As single Christian ladies, they are not alone in their anxieties. Pilgrim Gardens is a community of elderly Christians, many having never been married, never having children, having been widowed or having families that live many miles away, sometimes in other countries; but what these elderly Christians do have is an environment where they can flourish with other Christians. Here are the stories of two of them… Having spent 33 years on the mission field, Jill had always been housed with others. However, when she retired at 60, she realised that she would have to start living alone. Although she wasn’t concerned about being lonely, she did question who she could turn to when she was no longer independent and able to drive. An internet search led her to Pilgrim Gardens. To her the unique selling point was the Pilgrim’s Friend Society’s Evington Home just next door, meaning that once Jill could no longer cope independently, she could be supported by their 24hour care. But in the meantime, Jill appreciates her daily call from the Pilgrim Gardens office to check that she is ok and the Christian neighbours that she is surrounded by. Jill says, ‘being single means that you can’t join in with many of theconversations that other elderly people are having, like comparing grandchildren, but having Christian neighbours always givesyou that common ground for conversation about the Lord.’ Margaret’s son had introduced Margaret and her husband Geoff to Pilgrim Gardens and on their first look around Margaret described it as a place of ‘beauty, peace, quiet and bliss’. I remember Margaret’s words to me through teary eyes were, ‘it feels like home’. Margaret had been spending much of her time caring for her husband Geoff, who had dementia, Margaret struggled to see as she has macular degeneration and she confesses to being timid. All these things meant that she had become quite lonely where she had been living. Once Margaret and Geoff had moved in, they made friends very quickly as neighbours made themselves known and chatted freely when they were out and about. Sadly, Geoff passed away four months after moving in. Margaret is very grateful of God’s provision of her home at Pilgrim Gardens, where although she is now alone, she never feels lonely because of the warmth and comfort of the lovelyneighbours close by. Find out more about living at Pilgrim Gardens.