In chronic pain from arthritis and after being in hospital after a bad fall James Morrison – Jimmy to his friends – got back on his feet in more ways than one thanks to moving into Extra Care housing in Wythenshawe. Here on his 89th birthday, he tells us why his own flat and his own front door within communal living has brought security, safety and the option of solitude or socialising – on his own terms.
“I grew up in Scotland and worked hard all my life, just like my parents, and left school at 14. I’ve always loved being near the sea and I remember as a child getting the sand on my feet.
“I worked in a kipper factory before I joined the army, where I sometimes felt like I was with strangers and that used to make me stutter because I don’t like being with lots of people. I still get nervous at times.
“I’ve been through the deaths of all my brothers and sisters and my parents – don’t know how I managed to outlive them all. I still believe that plenty of fresh air is very important.
“After I fell and hit my head and face on a cabinet I was in hospital for some time and was worried I couldn’t manage when I went home.
“When I walked in this flat I thought it was a palace. Look, it’s got a settee and a TV and two rooms – all the things I couldn’t afford when I was growing up. And the staff are very kind and help me.
“This is where I live. It makes me feel safe. When I go to bed I still say goodnight to my parents because this is my home. If I could live anywhere in the world I would go on a plane somewhere because I’ve never been on one. But this is where I would want my home, and I don’t stutter here.”
Photos by Mark Waugh