After Steven’s care became too much, Jeannette found her help

What do you do when you’re not sure about getting extra support at your home?

Don’t ask Jeanette. Because she might give you an honest answer.

“We’ve had friends that didn't go ahead and do anything and they say to me, ‘Oh, I’m alright. I don’t need to do anything.”

a photo of steven and jeanette both out by the water smiling

“Then they go and break their ankle or something and say, ‘I wish I’d known earlier.’ I did warn them!”

“You mightn’t like me, I’m a bit crazy.”

From living in Southport with home care, to retirement living with St Vincent’s and now with her husband Steven living in St Vincent’s aged care next door, Jeanette has experienced it all.

“I’m a pastor’s wife. I’ve done the whole thing. Now I’m just happy keeping to myself and visiting Steven.”

Steven is Jeanette’s husband and is a big part of why Jeanette made the move to Villa La Selle at Southport in the first place. That itself was a challenge.

jeanette in her retirement living unit garden at SouthportJeanette is now living happily in retirement living only a short walk from her husband Steven who lives in the aged care next door


“Well, the first thing you’ve got to do is sell your big house. I’d never sold anything in my life. My husband had never done anything like that.” “Bought this place and paid cash for it.”

While the move to Villa la Salle was made for all the right reasons, it didn’t always mean things were easy. As Steven’s dementia caught up with him, getting extra support became a must for Jeanette. It started with reaching out to a care coordinator who they had worked with previously and ended up being that St Vincent’s home care were the ones who answered the call.

“They came in when he got too hard for just me to look after. They came around and gave him a tablet. Helped with showering. Everything we needed they would do. Even help getting around with the car.”

But as Steven’s dementia worsened, combined with his polymyalgia, a painful disorder that causes muscle stiffness, the care became too much even for Jeanette to handle.

“I had to do a lot of things for him. His tablets and things like that.”

“[Here at the Villa] He didn’t have to do anything. He didn’t have to do any gardening or anything like that.”

Many people struggle with the idea of having someone come into their home to help out. But for Jeanette and Steven, it just made sense.

“Yeah, he [Steven] was happy to have someone. He needed help. I was there to do most things for him.”

“Bed changed once a week. Showered him twice a week. But he eventually got to the point he couldn’t move anymore.”

It was at that point that Steven had to move into full time care at St Vincent’s aged care next door.

The short walk makes visiting her husband easy and sometimes even quite delicious...

“I’ll visit Stephen. He has beautiful food. Sometimes I’ll go up at lunch time because I know he won’t finish it all.”

“The bugger. He’s supposed to do some things on his own but he waits for me to come and have lunch with him.”

Even after Stephen has moved into aged care, Jeanette still gets her house cleaned by St Vincent’s care worker, Kim, who was actually doing a clean while we chatted with Jeanette.

“Once a week to do a clean. And she does an hour now. She’s a wonderful girl. Knows where everything is.”

Talking with Jeanette, we could even hear Kim chatting with Jeanette’s dog Gremlin in the background.

Jeanette laughed to herself. “She’s so good. She talks to the dog like he’s human.”

For now Jeanette is happy. While things don’t always go to plan, for Jeanette she’s a great example of someone who’s making the best of it.

“I take Gremlin out onto the grass. Go for a walk.”

“I really love it here.”

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