The first resident of the Beau de l'Air assisted living units is Francine Raes. The sprightly lady moved into her brand-new apartment in September, thus becoming the very first occupant of the project. "Everything still has to get going here, but I definitely don't miss my old apartment", she says with conviction.
Beau de l'Air is ready for take off. The 55 assisted living units are finished to a high standard, the tables at the restaurant are set and the newspaper is waiting to be read in the communal lounge. All the units have been sold, so now all we have to do is wait for the future residents to come and furnish their new homes.
"I was born in Hingene, a village that falls under Bornem. It's a beautiful, quiet and green place. I always loved living there: first as a child and later with my husband and son. When we got older, we moved to an apartment in Bornem. After my husband passed away, my son bought an apartment in Knokke-Heist and I decided to move to the seaside as well. That's almost sixteen years ago.”
"Since I've lived by the sea, my life has changed. It's a quiet and healthy environment, where I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people. I'm a member of Okra, an association for senior citizens, and the Liberal Women's association, and I regularly play cards in the nearby cultural centre. I can't believe that anyone who lives here in Knokke would ever want to go back to the hinterland."
"My girlfriend and I have our own Rummikub table. They put it here especially for us!"
"I don't regret moving from my apartment in Knokke-Heist to Beau de l'Air at all." Why don't you? "Because everyone here takes such good care of me while I still have all my freedom. When I first moved in, I was sick for a while. I had to stay indoors for ten days. In the past, that would have been difficult because I lived alone. My son couldn't come and help me every day. Here they did everything they could to take care of me: my food and medication were brought upstairs just like that. In my apartment I have a red button that I can press day and night if I need help. I have one of those buttons next to my bed and in the bathroom too. If I press it, I can talk directly to a carer."
"On the other hand, of course, I do whatever I want. I have my own entrance and go wherever I like. I play cards twice a week, eat out in Knokke and every month I play shuffleboard with Okra. Of course I can also invite my family or friends over without any problems. If we want, we can sit in the communal lounge or have a bite at the restaurant. I have already invited a friend a couple of times to play Rummikub together. We've even got our own Rummikub table here. They got it especially for us and it’s here to stay. That’s another reason why I like living here so much", Francine laughs.
"Even when my friends or family aren't here, I don't lack social contact at all. Lieselot, the receptionist, takes very good care of me. We regularly chat in the salon or have a glass of wine at my apartment. Once all the residents have moved in, many more activities will be organised, such as performances or game afternoons. Downstairs there is also a small hairdressing salon, a gym and a wellness area. I feel safe and happy here. I can recommend it to everyone my age!”