Consisting of two eight-storey buildings, Proomukatu 1 is only a stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Vesijärvi in Lahti’s Ankkuri district.
It’s late March and the lake is almost completely free of ice after the mild winter.
The residents of this Lumo property live in close proximity to nature, but only a couple of kilometres from the city centre.
“Come right in!” says Keijo Lindroos with a welcoming smile. He has been the Lumo Team Leader at Proomukatu 1 for a long time.
The property has 86 apartments with more than 150 residents, but the atmosphere is very quiet and peaceful.
“Sometimes it gets very lively on Saturday nights along this connecting corridor when the club room is booked for an event and the partition wall is opened,” Lindroos says.
A few years ago, he celebrated his 60th birthday here.
Ideas developed and decisions made as a team
Completed in 2001, Proomukatu 1 was originally designed as an accessible building for elderly residents. The units include singles, two-room apartments and three-room apartments. With many elderly people choosing to live in small apartments these days, families with children have moved into the three-room apartments in particular.
“There’s room for everyone here. Our resident activities are aimed at everyone, regardless of their age,” says Lindroos, who has been the Lumo Team Leader at Proomukatu 1 for the past 12 years.
A certificate of honour posted on the wall of the club room, received from the lessor in 2012, speaks to the strong community spirit at the building. It’s a nice memory for Lindroos.
The guest book features names and greetings spanning well over a decade. The comments in the guest book mention activities such as bingo, games of Mölkky and all kinds of parties.
“We’ve had good times and bad. Sometimes there’s been a lack of active residents to organise activities. These days, the Lumo team is quite active again. We’ve done a lot over the years,” Lindroos points out.
The team currently has eight members. They come up with ideas and make decisions together on all activities and purchases.
A strong community spirit makes people feel good
Each year of resident activities at Proomukatu 1 typically starts with a Shrove Tuesday event held in mid-winter. There are volunteer cleaning parties in the yard in spring and autumn, as well as a big barbecue party in autumn.
In the run-up to Christmas, people make baked goods and casseroles that their fellow residents can buy at a bring-and-buy sale. Of course, there’s also a Christmas party. The highlight of the year is the annual summer excursion.
“Sometimes we visit one of the summer theatres in the region. Cruises on the lake are also an option. We’ve even visited a vineyard,” Lindroos recalls.
The parties, volunteer cleaning events and excursions usually attract 20–30 participants. The Christmas party is the most popular event, with as many as 50 people joining the event to enjoy a Christmas meal together.
Christmas is also the season that Lindroos associates with his fondest memory of resident activities. Attracting new residents, especially immigrants, to shared activities can be challenging due to the language barrier and cultural differences. Sometimes, however, the Lumo team manages to overcome those challenges.
“We once had three children from an immigrant family perform at our Christmas party. A boy played the violin and two girls danced. It left everyone with a very nice feeling,” Lindroos explains.
A sauna on the top floor brings a little luxury to daily life
The club room can be reserved by the residents free of charge. On Thursdays, the room is used for bingo evenings with cake and coffee. On summer Mondays, people play Mölkky outside.
“We used to have a weekly card game as well, but eventually it got discontinued due to a lack of interest.
In addition to the more traditional shared facilities, Proomukatu 1 has a special feature: a sauna on the top floor with a fireplace room and glazed balcony. The sauna also has a panoramic window with a view of Lake Vesijärvi.
“The sauna can be reserved by the residents for a small fee,” Lindroos says as he points out the beautiful view.
Eighth time lucky?
The sauna with a view may have a new regular user soon once Heljä Kaartinen settles in after her move from Hämeenlinna to Lahti. As things turned out, she had to complete her move at the turn of April–May, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
This sprightly octogenarian was nevertheless able to sort things out and move into her new home as planned.
“Everything’s in good order. I’ve got the keys and I’ve paid my first rent,” she tells me on the phone less than week before the date of her move.
Kaartinen is no stranger to moving to a new city. Before her move to Lahti, this native of Joensuu has previously moved to Helsinki, Tampere, Kuopio, Espoo and Hämeenlinna. On top of all that, she has spent nine winters in Fuengirola, Spain.
“Moving is no problem for me. I adapt easily to new surroundings,” she says.
From an owner-occupied apartment to a Lumo home
Kaartinen decided to move to Lahti to be closer to her son and his family. After her partner passed away, Hämeenlinna started to feel empty for her — even after moving to a smaller apartment.
Apart from a short time spent renting a home in her youth, Kaartinen has always owned her home. She feels good about moving to a rental apartment.
“At my age, I decided not to buy another apartment. Finding a nice rental apartment is hard enough. At this Lumo building I can spend the rest of my days with people my age,” she says with a smile.
“I’ve moved around enough. Maybe this is the last time!”
Kaartinen is delighted when she hears about the resident activities in her new building.
“That sounds wonderful! Activities are very important. I love going on excursions,” she says.
This sporty senior didn’t want to have a sauna in her new apartment. That was one of the criteria in her choice of where to live. She also wanted to find an apartment with a nice location and a peaceful environment. While she didn’t want a sauna of her own, she is happy to hear about the shared sauna facilities on the top floor.
“I could invite my son’s family to spend an evening with me there,” she starts planning, surrounded by removal boxes.