After Christmas and New Year celebrations, a lot of families are faced with difficult conversations and decisions after they realise that an older loved one is finding it harder to remain living at home.
While this can be a time of great stress for families, for these Brisbane families, helping their parents move into a care community has been a positive step that has improved quality of life for the whole family.
In Danielle Burke’s case, she didn’t realise how much her parents Ted and Kay Atkinson were struggling at home until after they’d moved into their new home at Seasons Sinnamon Park.
“I wanted a place that both Mum and Dad can stay in and once Dad passes, I wanted Mum to be in place, somewhere with all the facilities and care and knowing people,” says Danielle.
In Seasons communities, seniors have their own self-contained apartments with all the care they might need, plus lifestyle activities, and couples can stay together regardless of care needs.
“I didn’t realise that they were struggling as much as they were until I saw the difference when they moved in here and the weight that came off their shoulders and mine.”
Danielle says that seeing the change in her father, who is living with dementia, has been a comfort to her and the rest of the family.
“A couple of months ago they were living independently, Dad was sitting in a dark lounge room, sleeping most of his day away because he wasn’t getting the mental or social stimulation. He was becoming depressed, his energy levels were going, the spark went out of his eyes and since he’s been here and meeting people again, he’s excited to come down for lunch –it’s a social event every single day for him. He’s got that spark again; he has joy again and he’s laughing again. It’s just honestly been amazing.
“It’s turned around a very dark, scary place from someone with a 90-year-old father whose very frail and sick. It’s turned his health around, it’s turned my mother’s health around, mentally and emotionally and physically. But it’s been amazing for the whole family too.”
For fellow Seasons Sinnamon Park family member Belinda Carnigan, whose mother Nola Whitely moved into Seasons in May 2018, the combination of social activities and personalised care won her over.
“We’ve done a lot of cruising together, we’ve been around the world 104 days, so I said we pretend this is another cruise ship,” says Belinda.
“I know Mum loves to go to the movies after lunch, so that sort of fills in quite a bit of her day. I think she also likes the bingo and trivia and all those sorts of games.
“The care grows with you in your own unit, so your home becomes your home, and the care grows with you. And that was the biggest sort of tick factor for us. It is a responsibility having Mum here around the corner from where I live, but in saying that I’m sharing the responsibility with Seasons!”
Watch Seasons’ families tell their story.