Why choose retirement living: Bill Watts’ Story
“It was like opening a door that I didn’t know was there. I feel like it’s brought the best out of me.”

William “Bill” Watts, who recently turned 98-years-young, grew up in southern England during the wartime era. It was when he met his lovely Canadian wife, Josie, that he emigrated to Canada so they could begin their life together. A father of two children and an active duty fire fighter for over 25 years, Bill lead an active and fulfilling lifestyle that included hobbies like playing rugby and cricket, as well as fishing and hunting. Today, Bill still seeks any chance to work with his hands and put his creative mind to work.

Nearly twenty years after the passing of his beloved wife, Bill describes how life at home alone began to wear on him. “Before moving I was really down—anxiety and depression,” he explains. Without the company of his wife, Bill also began to feel like his house was too big and the yard was too much to keep up with. He felt a change was needed, which his family agreed with, expressing to him that they would feel better knowing he had more daily support.

As Bill and his family began to explore retirement residences, they took a tour of Chartwell Hampton House in Chilliwack, BC. He describes how he knew almost instantly that it would become his home: “It felt welcoming in comparison to other places I visited. The staff greeted me immediately; I felt like a V.I.P.”

Bill moved to Chartwell Hampton House in September of 2014. Describing himself as “lonely, depressed and unhealthy” before moving into his retirement community, he is anything but now. Bill has wholeheartedly embraced his new lifestyle: he takes breakfast every morning with his friends, where he “likes to tell a joke,” and also enjoys participating in exercise classes, Happy Hours and organized bus trips. He cherishes time with the boys—including his friend Keith—at the residence’s Men’s Club too. When staff introduced “Freaky Friday” themed days during the height of the pandemic to keep up spirits, Bill also took to creating exciting costumes to don each week, encouraging his fellow residents to join in the fun.

As Lifestyle and Programs Manager Tracey describes it, whatever is going on in the home, Bill wants to be a part of it. “He is living his life to the fullest now,” she says.

“He really shows that age is just a number and remains a constant source of inspiration to us all. We should all be so fortunate.”

As to whether Bill would recommend retirement living, he tells, “Expect to meet perfect strangers and become friends. You’ll feel safe here, both in your suite and the home in general. I never feel out of place.” He concludes, “We’re all here to be supported and the staff is here for us. Living at my residence is like getting a second family.”