“If you’re in your late 70’s and in your own home it’s time to start planning”

Q. So Faye, what was the turning point for you to move into an aged care facility?

At my 80th birthday I decided that I will make my announcement and I made my speech at my party or dinner and said well I’ve got some news, I have decided to put my house on the market. I’m leaving Gippsland I’ve been there for a long time and I’m going to Melbourne to move into a nursing home. My daughter and everyone’s mouth fell open and said you’re joking. No that’s it, I’ve put my house on the market and I had been and stayed here (Regis Seaside) a couple of times. I got on the train down here and would spend a couple of days here and no one knew. I’ve lived by myself now for 11 years, Ken (husband) passed away, but I’ve always been independent. I’ve always worked. I was a private secretary and then we were in B&B’s. So we did that for years , it was hard work but that was fun.
We had a big home that was over 100 years old.

Q. That must have been pretty hard to make that decision to sell your own home?

Not really, that was the way- Ken was in the bank and we shifted every few years. So we were use to shifting. It was just my way of life- and I’m still shifting now.

Q. What has your experience of living in Aged Care?

Well I’m very happy here. And I use to come down and stay a week or 5 days. I came here because I like being near the beach and the first owners were loving and I would come and go- I’d go back to Sale for a while and then come back again. Then on my 80th birthday I said I’m selling my home and shifting to Melbourne and I’m going to live here.

Q. Did you try any other places?

I suppose I could have but I was really happy here and I think if you find the place and your happy then, and I think that can unsettle you a bit. But I think I’m that type of person if I see what I like I grab it.

Q. What did you look for in a nursing home? What matters most to you?

I was looking for company and wanted my independence as much as I could and I wanted to be close to the beach. Not far from the city.
We can get a taxi in to the MCG and have a nice lunch.

Q. What tips would you give other older Australian’s considering moving into care?

You have to plan, you know a little bit. When you get to 80, you know if you still have your own house and living by yourself I think that’s when you need to decide. I thought of yeah, ok it’s time to move on – I got a bit lonely and always came to Melbourne. I read about this facility and then I use to get the train down here.

You can bring anything into your room as you can see. They didn’t realize I would bring half my house. It all depends what you like. I wanted it to look like a room in my own house, that’s half the secret- making it my room and I’ve got it the way I like it.

That’s one piece of advice if your just made to live with little things they (facility) then there furniture. You pay good money to live here so you want to be happy so make it your own..

A friend of mine that never wanted to leave their house she is 90 years old and she had a lovely home in Melbourne and still angry with her daughter as she thinks she dumped her here. I said what choice did she have? You were living in a 3 story house and you can hardly walk. You gave her no choice- you should’ve planned in advance. She has started to realize that now, but she made it hard for her daughter.

She is still upset with her daughter for making her move into the facility was happy to come into a place like this as I didn’t want to cook anymore and I didn’t want to do the house work and I was by myself and I wanted to come to Melbourne and I wanted to be looked after. I just wanted one move.

Another piece of advice is; I think if you’re in your late 70’s and in your own home, that’s the time to start planning. To remain independent and maintain choice that’s the time to make decisions.

Q. At age 81yrs how do you keep your spring in your step?

I think it’s all about positive thinking. I don’t think I can’t do anything that I did at 50. Well there’s a couple things I can’t do.

I really like it here and why you’re well like I am (and Tom her male friend) you look after the others (other residents) if the need it. You know- keep them company, some of them wander around you know and can get a bit lost but we bring them over with us and sit with us. And couple of them (other residents) when we go for a walk there is always someone that would like to see the “outside world” that can’t go by themselves- as long as they can walk- they are like us but they don’t like going out by themselves.

We can go down to the beach- we go down to the shops and get a cappuccino and then we go across the road and sit on the cliff top and you see ships in the distance- makes you think we still belong to the outside world out there you know. That’s important- you know when you get to our age (isn’t it Tom?)
You know this is not our whole life!

This is the first year I haven’t been to London for 4mths. It has to come to an end sometime, so I’ve decided that’s it no more travelling overseas. It’s all about me and doing what I like- so this is where I am if you’d like to see me.

Q. How much choice did you have over finding this aged care facility?

I found the facility on my own- my family didn’t even know I was looking.

Q. Can you share your experiences about what it’s like living in aged care facility?

I think it’s nice living with people your own age group too, we all like sport and watch the footy and the cricket. You know you don’t die when you come in here you still know what’s going on, don’t you Tom?, We get a cappuccino- watch the ships go by and feel like you belong to the world.

Tom’s got biscuits and I’ve usually got fruit and we can share it (both laugh)

They are pretty flexible here, we have this nice area out here (referring to the court yard garden). Anyone can come down and walk around- have some sunshine.

Q. When asked about ‘Aged Care Report Cards’ 7 important criteria. Are these things most important to you?

Those things are important to me- the place is always kept clean, there is always someone around. If you are needing a lot of attention you really be here. The facilities are very good and the people are very nice.

They recommend coming in as a test run ‘respite’ and I think everyone should do it.

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