When Margaret had just lost her second husband and was told by doctors that she could no longer live independently because of the early stages of dementia, Deb and her family made the difficult decision to move her into a local residential aged care facility in June.
Deb says that while the nursing home they chose seemed nice, as the months went by she realised it wasn’t the right fit for Margaret and she started to worry about her quality of life.
“While it was a nice facility and the staff were friendly, it was an institution and it was too high care for mum,” says Deb.
“Mum is still quite capable of doing some things but with her memory loss, she needed some help and support rather than full-time hospital care. I felt she was just sitting in her room and waiting to die.”
Before Deb started work at Seasons, she didn’t realise that an aged care option combining independent living with personalised care existed.
“Before I started working at Seasons I didn’t know this option was available, otherwise it may have been a different story. Seasons gives her independence. She can make her own coffee or toast when she wants to,” says Deb.
“It’s the little things that make a big difference. I don’t know how many times she’s used the washing machine since she’s moved in because she hasn’t been able to do that and now she can! She can even get her hair done on site, which is excellent. Seasons has given her back her independence.
“The care staff are looking after her, putting her washing out, making her bed and looking after her medication. All the things that keep her safe.”
While Deb admits it was a big decision to move Margaret from residential aged care given her short-term memory loss, once she settled in she loves it.
“She was disorientated at first, but after a few days, she started to really enjoy it. She got her hair done and we put some more photos and collages up on the walls. It’s really starting to feel like home and she loves her apartment.
“She is integrating well into the community and when she went for a little walk around the walking path she said that ‘everybody said hello and knew my name!’
“She lived on the second floor at her previous facility and she didn’t really see the outside world. She was looking down on the world, whereas at Seasons she’s in the world, instead of living in a bubble.”
Deb said it’s not just her mum that is enjoying the change – she’s also found herself feeling happier since Margaret joined her at Seasons.
“I see her every morning when I arrive at work and say goodbye when I leave in the afternoon. I also feel comfortable with the care she is getting and that she has her independence back. I don’t worry about her so much.”
This blog first appeared on Seasons Aged Care’s blog.