Supported Living: Betz’ story

85 year old Betz Berryman is a fiercely independent woman who enjoys life to the full. Despite the onset of dementia, she was reluctant to move into residential accommodation fearing a loss of that independence. But when she came to look around Sydenham Court Supported Housing, she felt she might just have found the perfect solution

Betz tells her story.

As I got older, people would say to me ‘Betz, you shouldn’t really be living on your own, would you not think of moving somewhere… for company’. But being as independent as I am, I didn't want to, besides, I had lived on my own for many years and felt perfectly happy like that.

But then, one day a few years ago, quite suddenly, I started to feel less happy on my own, and I knew the time was right to move. As I went round various places to have a look at what was on offer, I was adamant that I didn’t want to go somewhere where the staff take over, always knocking on your door, annoying you.

So when I first came to Sydenham Court to look around, it seemed wonderful. Each tenant has their own apartment with an open plan kitchen and living area, a nice sized bedroom and a bathroom; Best of all, even though the staff were on hand to help they didn’t seem to interfere.

Decision made, I moved in to my apartment at Sydenham Court about 9 months ago, and haven’t looked back since. I don’t think you could get better - from my balcony I look out at the Belfast Hills, and it is so bright and sunny inside.

I have a nice relationship with the other tenants – if people call by, I’ll happily have a chat at my front door, but that’s it. Once I close my door, the apartment is my private place, no-one interferes. Of course, support workers call in once or twice a day to check that I’m OK. Anything I want to ask them, or talk about, I know I can – it’s the perfect balance of independence and reassurance.

Any time I want, I can walk up to the bus stop and go into town or to Bangor. There are also organised events and activities every week if I want to get involved, but sometimes I’m so busy I don’t have time!
I really am so thankful that I decided to come to Sydenham Court. Here I can live my own life, do my own thing, go in and out as I please, yet if I had a problem, help is at hand.

Supported Housing for People with Dementia

Sydenham Court has 22 single and 3 double apartments catering specifically for people with dementia.
Supported Housing aims to ensure that each tenant has an opportunity to live as independently as possible within a carefully designed environment where risks are identified and minimised.
Read more about this service

Read about the experience of other tenants at Sydenham Court

Read Lila's story   Read Raymond's story