Aged care’s best of friends found each other at the hardest of times

Finishing a cherry on Beth’s balcony, Beth and Beryl are content.

It’s about to storm, which is sure to put a damper on the afternoon, but couldn’t possibly put a damper on the tightest of friendships formed in the unlikeliest of places: aged care.

beth and beryl finishing a drink on their balcony in aged care

“It’s good to have a best friend. It’s wonderful,” says Beth.

“We like just sitting on the balcony, having a drink and enjoying each other’s company. Just one drink and that’s all we need.”

“You see one, you see the other.”

Beryl has been here at Bardon Aged Care 3 years, with Beth only arriving in the last couple.

“We just gelled. We've both got family commitments and we both like what each other likes and that’s why we became so friendly. We’ve both love our families too.”

“Both families are very pleased about that. If one of the family comes and I’m not here [Beth’s room], they know to come up to Beryl.”

“It’s good to have a best friend. It’s wonderful,”

St Vincent’s Aged Care at Bardon has been the backdrop for their friendship and it’s been a place where they’ve not only found each other, but something to do every day of the week.

“It's a lovely place,” says Beth. Beryl nods in agreement. “We mostly like the movies. Dramas. There’s bingo. There’s exercises. But, not too keen on that,” Beth laughs.

“This afternoon we’ll have a movie on. There’s always something going on. It’s a lovely, lovely place. You could recommend it to anyone. We’re all happy and that’s the main thing.”

One of the challenges of moving into aged care is that it’s rarely planned. Emotion runs high and residents and family alike are incredibly stressed.

“I had a fall,” says Beryl. “I fractured my hip, a pubic bone. So I’ve been here since.”

“To give up your independence is the hardest, but once you realise you can’t look after yourself any longer. It’s good. Because everyone looks after you.”

When it came to aged care, Beth, however had next to no concerns.

“I never even thought about it,” says Beth. 

“It’s just another stage in my life.”

“Take it as it comes. That’s my motto.”

Despite the differences in how they arrived at Bardon, both Beryl and Beth agree that it was the right move for them. To be closer to family and to have the support they need from people that genuinely care for them.

“The staff get to the door and they say, ‘Are you two on the sherry again?’ We’ve just started, give us a go,” Beth laughs.

“The staff are absolutely fantastic. No complaints.”

Beryl agrees.

“Well they’re just so thoughtful. They don’t mind what they do for you. Everything is no trouble to them. They just don’t mind. They're very cheerful all the time and very helpful,” says Beryl. Beth agrees.

“I haven’t heard one of the residents say they’re not happy.”

So, what’s next for Beth and Beryl: Afternoon (and sometimes morning) sherrys, movies and enjoying each other’s families and company.

When we chatted with Beth, we said that it sounded like bliss.

“It is,” says Beth. “It is.”

“Everyone’s happy, everyone fits in. That’s how it should be.”