THE owners of a retirement home have said a number of factors were to blame for their decision to close.

Tracey House, in Haytor Road, Bovey Tracey, has been in business for some 40 years, and the current owners, Jo and George Zakrzewski,  have been running the home since 1989. 

They said: ‘It has been our living but so very much more than that. It has been a vocation, a way of life.’

‘You build up a real relationship with the people you care for,’ said Jo.

Along with Jo’s parents, Cynthia and Bob Cooksey, their aim was to ensure the best possible quality of life for the elderly in their care. Living on site for many years enabled them to have a very close connection to the home. 

Jo said: ‘Our three daughters grew up here, and along with many of their friends, became employees. Coffee mornings were held at Christmas, fundraising for Cancer Research and Garden Parties in the summer for various local needs such as HITS and most recently the Thrive Hive at Bovey Tracey Primary School. Dog Shows were purely for fun! 

‘We are incredibly grateful to all those in the community who have supported us at these events. 

‘The Baptist Church, the Methodist Church and the Parish church have faithfully brought Communion services to the residents on a monthly basis as well sending them flowers for Mothering Sunday, celebrating Harvest Festival and singing carols at Christmas. 

‘The Riverside Surgery have been immensely supportive, in fact all the links with the community have been highly valued and were a tremendous loss during covid.’

The home, rated Outstanding, has been able to accommodate up to 24 guests, and is currently liaising with their families to find new homes for the remaining 19 residents – some of whom have been there for 10 years.

Jo and George expressed thanks all their staff for standing with them over so many years and most especially the last three. 

Jo said: ‘They battled their way through the pandemic together from those very first frightening weeks to following all the necessary rules and regulations to this very day. 

‘Tracey House would not be what it is without our staff. They are the creators of care and to be admired for their dedication, compassion, empathy, kindness, skill, tenderness and the joy they find in their work. 

‘Many of them have used Tracey House as a stepping stone for careers in healthcare, going on to become nurses, doctors, dentists and physiotherapists

‘As a team we have loved all the challenges and the very many relationships formed with residents and families. We are proud to have provided a good quality of life to so many in their later years and feel privileged to be chosen and entrusted to carry that out.’

George is well past his retirement age and Jo fast approaching hers. 

The couple gave due consideration to trying to continue but the last few years of operating under Covid restrictions, difficulties with staff recruitment, sickness issues and now in an economic crisis has made the challenge too great for them to continue. 

Despite repeated attempts they have not been able to sell Tracey House as a going concern which was their much-preferred option. 

Jo said: ‘We are extremely sorry for the loss of this great facility to Bovey Tracey and was never the end they imagined.

‘Regrettably the home will close on April 3.’