A Lumo senior house in Espoo offers a communal afternoon coffee once a week and all sorts of common activities.
A bubbly hum of conversation can be heard from a club room in a Lumo building on Ruusutorpantie. A few dozen senior citizens have gathered together to spend a resident event, talking about contemporary issues and selecting a Lumo team for the building. There has been a house committee in this senior house for years, now it changes into a Lumo team.
‒ We have a lot of community activities; I have been the chairman of the house committee now for eight years. I’ve lived in this house since it was builtin 2000. I moved in as a minor, but luckily my husband was already of age at that time, Sirkka Einimö says with a laugh.
She refers to the age-limit of the senior houses: These Lumo homes are reserved for citizens over 55 years old. There are 41 apartments in this senior house in Espoo; single rooms, 2 rooms and 3 rooms apartments, with around 50 residents.
‒ We are mostly women, only a couple of men and married couples, Einimö specifies.
Events throughout the year
This Lumo building in Ruusutorpantie was elected as the house of the year some years ago and there are a lot of community activities: the living environment is taken care of and the cooperation with building maintenance and the property managers goes smoothly.
The House of the Year diploma has its own place on the club room wall. It emphasises the communal events, the active maintenance of the yard and gardenas well as the significant neighbourly help in the building.
‒ Pea soup in February, communal work events during summer and autumn, mead and doughnuts served on May Day, barbecuing in summer parties and autumn gatherings and, last but not least, Christmas celebrations at the end of the year. We alsohave a cup of coffee together every Thursday, Einimö lists.
And she hasn’t had to organise these events by herself. The chairman says that there’s always been help at hand when needed.
Fun with Lumo money
As Einimö is moving out in the springtime, a new leader is needed for the Lumo team.
‒ Nothing is changing, you can still plan activities and organise events just as before. The Lumo team can organise whatever they want for the good of the residents. You’ll have 1,103 euros a year to spend, property manager Miika Mäkelä assures.
As the audience wonders at the exact number, the property manager explains that the amount is determined by the size of the housing company and the monthly amount is 0.046 euros per living square metre. The senior residents have spent their Lumo money in moderation: For the Christmas party, they still have 400 euros to spend.
Former vice chairman Kari Eskola is proposed to be the new Lumo team leader ‒ he says he has no need of any positions at the moment but promises to help and assist whenever needed. Paula Puhilas gets support and is unanimously elected as the leader of the team. She has a convincing background: The new team leader has lived in the senior house already for 14 years.
‒ Kari will give me a hand, Puhilas calls out to Eskola. Her wish is granted: Eskola is elected as the second member of the Lumo team.
Jointly crocheted bicycle
On this dark and sunless evening, the residents look back on spring days and summertime and their daily gatherings in the nice courtyard.
‒ The yard and the flowers are our pride and joy, and we take care of them together. Even now, the ten-year-old geraniums are waiting for spring in the storeroom. There’s also a bicycle which we have given a new look by crocheting. When the spring comes, we’ll have it outside in the yard again as a decoration, says Einimö.
Someone in the audience wishes for the club room to be open not just on Thursdays. There are so many books to be read on the bookshelves. The club room is cozy: It’s nice to sit there with the Marimekko curtains, the pictures on the walls, and the house plants.
‒ I’m always at home, you’re welcome to come and pick up the key, says the new Lumo team leader.
One member of the audience declares that the best thing here is to cook together or taste something someone else has cooked – parties are a big thing. Einimö admits enjoying both cooking and organising events. She’ll be in charge of the Christmas party still, and preparing, with her helpers, a huge pot of pea soup at Shrovetide.
A time for everything and everything in its time, but Lumo is here to stay: On April Fool’s Day, the ex-chairman Einimö moves to another Lumo building in another city, closer to her daughter.
Conversations about anything and everything
The resident event continues in a lively manner: Mäkelä states it would be better if people would avoid talking at the same time. So, the crowd quiets down.
‒ Can we complain now? says one of the seniors.
‒ Go ahead, I have an answer to everything, Mäkelä smiles.
Wishes start to pour in. The issues pressing on the residents’ minds are heavy front doors, laundry room stairs with no ramp, bike shed lock, a lump of stone in the courtyard, batteries, household appliances, entrance intercoms, and fire detectors.
‒ My fire detector was checked by four men, first the ones with yellow vests and then the ones wearing black. The residents should be given a broomstick to be able to shut down the noise of the gadget, Asta Isoksela suggests. Eskola agrees: he has a stick and a steady hand.
‒ Asta, it’s good to have many men around. Keeps you perky, adds another resident.
The property manager listens carefully and takes notes on all the wishes.
‒ If there are any defects, please get in touch. Faulty fire detectors will be fixed or replaced for sure, safety first.
Mäkelä encourages everyone to get in touch actively if there are any further questions after the resident event.
A member of the audience praises the house for its quietness,
‒ Still enough noises so you don’t feel like living in a cemetery. No drinking and wild parties here.
Feeling at home in the building
After drinking coffee and mulled wine, having buns and conversations, it’s time to leave for home. Next time the residents get together enjoying Christmas dishes, apart from the traditional Thursday coffees.
‒ Although my stove broke down and I have to wait for spare parts coming all the way from China, I’m totally happy with everything, Puhilas says.
‒ I’ve also loved living here, Isoksela sums up.
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