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Celebrating our two aged-care ‘escapees’

Two residents of the Kingsford Terrace Corinda community proudly consider themselves “escapees’’ from aged-care facilities.

Celebrating our two aged-care ‘escapees’

Two residents of the Kingsford Terrace Corinda community proudly consider themselves “escapees’’ from aged-care facilities.

The latest escapee, Noela, is now living happily and independently with in-home care support in her two-bedroom apartment at the retirement living community in Brisbane’s southwest.

Noela travelled to Ireland in 2017 and on her return realised something was very wrong with her health but didn’t realise the seriousness. A lymphoma was found on her spine and she underwent surgery and chemotherapy but ended up in a wheelchair. “I was terrified of that wheelchair it was a hideous monstrosity. I was determined to get mobile again – it was walking or nothing for me. I had to work hard for several months to get my mobility back,’’ Noela says.

For reasons outside her control, Noela entered an aged-care facility in August 2018. “I must admit at the start I didn’t realise where I was and that it was actually aged care. While it was a beautiful building and the staff were lovely there were a lot of residents who had dementia. I couldn’t cope with it and I knew I just had to get out of there.’’

Noela, Kingsford Terrace Corinda resident

In May 2020, Noela left the care facility for her new apartment at Kingsford Terrace. She gave away her despised wheelchair and now only needs help from a wheelie walker to get around the village. With the assistance of a cleaner once a fortnight and a Five Good Friends support worker every Tuesday to take her shopping or to cook a meal, Noela is living independently.

“I no longer need the level of care I once needed,’’ she says.” I know there were others who, if able, would have loved to get out of the care facility with me.

“All the staff at Kingsford Terrace are just wonderful and the other residents offer me help if I need it. I feel I have enough support around me.’’

The former hospital laboratory scientist has lived at the village for only two months but is already on the residents’ committee and is involved in craft and Scrabble groups. “I think it’s very important to join in,’’ she says.

Noela’s experiences are similar to those of fellow Kingsford Terrace resident, Terry.

Terry had downsized to the retirement community after her husband’s death, then became a care facility resident but managed to “escape’’ back to the Kingsford Terrace village.

Terry, Kingsford Terrace Corinda resident

“I can’t recommend nursing home living to anyone. I’ve told my family there’s no way I’ll be going back to a nursing home,’’ Terry says.

After an accident Terry spent seven unhappy months living in care amongst residents with dementia. “They treated everyone the same, even if you didn’t have dementia. I had no one to talk to and spent a lot of time alone in my room. I also had people wandering into my room. More than once I had strange men standing beside my bed at night. Often it would take 45 minutes for my call to be answered.’’

Terry returned to a one-bedroom apartment in the Corinda retirement village and is thrilled with her quality of life and independence. “I am amongst friends and have the support I need with a visiting care service I’ve known for 13 years that also cared for my husband.

“I have a motorised wheelchair I use to get around. Life’s busy. I like to have things to do. I have backup if things go wrong. I’m leading my own life and have quality of life. I hope to stay here until I die.’’

Aura Holdings’ Directors Mark Taylor and Tim Russell are passionate about providing high-quality apartment living for retirees in engaged communities of like-minded people with care and support providers on hand. They believe their model allows residents to maintain their precious independence.

Tim says a nursing home need not be inevitable but suggests seniors start thinking about the lifestyle they desire as they age and to put measures in place sooner rather than later.

“My advice to people planning the next phase of their lives is don’t sit around hoping someone will take care of you,’’ Tim says. “Make a conscious decision to do all you can now to avoid a nursing home and have a plan. The sooner you get your plan into action the more likely you are to achieve your goals for living a happy and independent life. Often if you leave it too late, decisions get made for you.’’

Aura has partnered with quality in-home support provider, Five Good Friends. Depending on personal needs, Five Good Friends can provide services from domestic chores such as cleaning and shopping to nursing care, overnight stays even palliative care.

“This could be a service provider coming in to cook a few meals, clean or nursing care after surgery. Even our residents with mild dementia can stay in their own apartment with the level of support they need,’’ Tim says. “Often there is no need for residents to move again as support can be delivered to them as their care needs increase.’’

To find out more about ageing happily and independently in your own apartment in an Aura Holdings’ village go to auraholdings.com.au. For information about Five Good Friends go to fivegoodfriends.com.au

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