John was a beloved resident of Seasons Mango Hill, which was his home for the past nine years before he passed away early this year.
David says that they started looking at aged care options around two years after John’s wife passed away.
“Dad soon came to realise that he couldn’t manage on his own, and he wasn’t the type of guy to necessarily get everybody else doing things for him, paying people to come in and that type of thing. So with him, we started having a look around at what his options were,” says David.
“There were plenty of places around at that time, but the Seasons model seemed to be something new. Typically, the model was you could get into your own independent living into your apartment or a unit, but if your health got that bad that you couldn’t stay in the unit, then you needed to sell up and move into a hospice. And you don’t want that. So we were looking for something that was an all in one where that care was provided for you right through to the end.”
For John, getting in at the right time meant that when he first moved to Seasons he still lived relatively independently with some basic domestic assistance.
“When he moved in he was fit and healthy. He was still driving his car. He was cooking all his own meals. He was coming to visit us every week or couple weeks or so, because we were only 10 minutes or so away.
“But as he got dementia and his health declined, obviously the services at Seasons became more and more important.”
Of particular importance was Seasons Mango Hill’s day respite centre Rivendell.
“That was really great, because not only did they help him with meals, but it’s also just somebody keeping an eye on him a bit more regularly than what they would necessarily just sitting in the unit.
“As his dementia took hold and his cognitive abilities declined, he needed more and more help. So that was with showering or getting dressed, some meals and towards the end Dad took on the various levels of the home care packages and eventually into palliative care. So the service and the care and support that Seasons gave him and us, as the family was absolutely outstanding.”
Reflecting on his dad’s time at Seasons, David says that he is glad they made the decision to look at aged care when they did.
“We believe, as the family, that with Dad we got him in at the right time. And I don’t think that’s got anything to do with age, more so that person’s stage in life healthwise.
“A few of our friends have family members in similar positions, and I guess that our advice is, don’t leave it until your health is on the decline before you start looking at options. For us, it was the right model and it really worked, and it was I guess so satisfying towards the end to think that we just with Dad made the right choice at the right time.”
“The benefit, particularly for me being an only child was I didn’t have brothers and sisters to help with Dad. So over time, particularly in the early days when he was cognitive, it was me running around with him doing his shopping and getting him to doctor’s appointments and things like that.
“But as his dementia took hold and he needed more doctor’s appointments or visits, which is hard to fit in when you’ve got your own work and your own family and your own commitments, the Seasons staff again came to the fore there where they were able to coordinate doctor’s visits or dental appointments. That really takes the some of the load off the family. It’s not always the big things, it’s quite often the little things that make such a difference.”