Jenni Murray in blue dress Credit: Mark Harrison

Jenni Murray on the unexpected surprise of her care home ‘holiday’

The journalist was filled with terror by the thought of a care home stay, but instead she found friendship and hope.

Dame Jenni Murray has revealed in our very own Saga Magazine that she ended up in a care home recently after a fall.

The broadcasting legend said: “It was absolutely not my idea. The very words ‘care home’ filled me with doom, despond and, frankly, terror.”

But Murray had suffered a fall from a high bed at home and fractured one of her vertebrae. After a two-week hospital stay, she found herself struggling when she got home.

“Both my boys, Ed and Charlie, were anxious that I was spending too much time alone, sitting in the fireside chair, getting depressed and ever more inactive,” she said.

Murray realised a stay in a care home could be a good idea and told her eldest son she would give it a go.

“I could treat it as a holiday,” she said. “He could even take me to the seaside. All very well, I thought, but instead of care home could we call it a rehabilitation centre?”

On fitting in with her new community

Murray admitted in her monthly column for Saga Magazine that she was impressed with the centre. It was modern, smart and the physios started getting her moving straight away – but she still had concerns.

“It was my first visit to the dining room that confirmed my fears of spending my days in a care home,” she admitted.

“Wheelchairs and rollators filled every space; groups of women, old and bent – very few men – sat together chatting.”

“They clearly knew each other well. They nodded at me in acknowledgement but, just like the first day at school, I was not invited to join them; I was far too young to be one of the group.”

What did she think after four weeks?

Murray stayed at the home for four weeks and admitted that by the time she left she had changed her view – and made some new friends.

“The men and women in this home were not waiting to die. They were living their very long lives with pleasure, friendship, activity and the best possible care. It may happen to me one day, but I shall fear it no longer.”

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Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her

Updated:

Phillipa Cherryson is a senior digital editor for Saga Exceptional. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV. In her spare time she loves the outdoors and is a trainee mountain leader and Ordnance Survey Champion.

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