Living away from his wife Margaret wasn’t an option for Joe, so when her Alzheimer’s continued to deteriorate he had to find somewhere where she could be looked after and he could receive support in his caring role.
“Margaret’s Alzheimer’s started to get worse and even with respite we needed more care, so I looked up all the aged care homes and found this one (Seasons Waterford West). I came in here on a Wednesday and put a deposit down on Friday and we moved in on 13th January 2015,” says Joe.
“I just wanted a place that could look after Margaret. Even if I put her in a nursing home, we still would have had to buy a little townhouse somewhere so this is the two of them combined.”
Margaret was receiving a Level 4 package before they moved to Seasons, but when they transferred down from Gympie they couldn’t access a Level 4 package straight away – going back to a Level 2. This is where the Envigor care offered within Seasons became invaluable – filling in the care shortfall between the package and Margaret’s assessed care needs.
“I had to have Envigor to help me a lot until we got a Level 4 Package. Margaret couldn’t do anything for herself. She couldn’t walk and I had to feed her and bath her and dress her.
“Once we got a Level 4 Package, Envigor would come three times a day, get her out of bed in the morning and I fed her breakfast then and I’d take her down to lunch. After lunch, they’d come in and get her out of her wheelchair and put her in a chair here and at night they’d lift her out again with a hoist and give her a shower and put her to bed.
“We’d been here for about 18 months and she got worse and worse and had a stroke one day and passed away on me. That was nearly two years ago. I was still able to be with her right up to the end. Which is what you want.”
Since Margaret passed away, Joe admits he has felt quite lonely but being a part of a friendly and caring community has helped him adjust to this next stage of his life.
“After Margaret died, the staff would come in and sit with me a lot. I’d have crying fits every now and again. We also put a memorial garden in for her out the front called ‘Margaret’s Garden’.”
“I do mix with a lot of people here. I help run the ‘Men’s Business’ trips – we go out every second Tuesday. I make myself a nuisance around the place, annoying everyone! I find it’s quite lovely here – beautiful apartments, nice people. The staff are friendly – both Envigor and Seasons.
“I read books a lot and I go out with Margaret’s family. I have a good friend upstairs, Martin Webb, and we go out once a month and I’ve got other friends here I go out with. I’m always out! I also spend a lot of time doing genealogy and I’ve just finished a story on our whole family and how we came to Australia. With all the convicts!
“I’m also going through all the old tapes I’ve got of Margaret speaking because I don’t want to forget her voice. So, I’m copying all the VHS tapes over to DVD at the moment.”
While Joe keeps busy, he also enjoys spending time in his apartment and community areas enjoying the peaceful scenery.
“It’s way back off the road. You could be in the middle of the country here – not in the metropolitan area, that’s how quiet it is. You can sit and look at the lake – there are two big barbecues that we use. You could be at a resort down the Gold Coast!”