After feeling lonely on her own, Val has made aged care her home

Posted 23rd August 2023

aged care resident john foley with his familySt Vincent's Carseldine resident Valerie with her daughters Jenny and Jayne


Valerie came to Carseldine aged care at the best of times and the worst of times according to her daughters Jenny and Jayne.

While it was timely for Val to finally have some company in St Vincent’s aged care neighbouring her retirement living unit, it was also untimely to have it all happen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of 2020.

“Mum came here just before COVID hit, so she was sort of a bit lonely and isolated where she was.”

“She got a bit lost in the grounds at the start of COVID. So, we picked her up and Sandy [admissions coordinator] suggested respite. She was in there for a few weeks and then she stayed.”

“It’s good to know that she’s safe.”

Jenny agrees.

“She’s so well loved and the staff are just amazing because she’s in the best possible place she can be.”

“When we first came here, we met with Genevieve [Facility manager]. From that first moment, she made us feel so welcome and so loved. And that’s every single person we have met that have been like that from the café through to the reception staff and now the care staff.”

“So, when the time came [for aged care], we didn’t look anywhere else.”

While age care can be a difficult transition for many, it was a transition made a little easier by the familiarity Val already had with Carseldine through living on the same grounds. The relationships with staff stayed consistent and so did their care.

“They still check in and ask how she is when we’re up at reception. So, the staff are amazing,” says Jayne.

It was obvious to Jenny too, the difference that moving from living alone in the village to aged care has made.

“Mum’s got community around her and the staff are all beautiful. I reckon it’s the happiest she’s been since Dad’s gone. Just observing her being a part of the community and actually participating in the activities.”

“I think one day I came in and Mum was singing and she saw me but she was really quite happy to sit there and sing a couple more songs before she came and saw me.”

“I’ve only had the awareness since Mum’s settled that her favourite time ever when we were growing up was sitting around a table with family and friends having a meal and having a laugh.”

“And since Dad’s been gone, Dad’s been gone coming up to 13 years, that she’s eaten so many meals alone. And now she’s got her gang. Like she’s got her beautiful table and she’s getting to share three meals a day with people.”

“That is such an absolute blessing because she’s actually got that connection again. I think that’s made so much of a difference in her mental health.”

“There’s this ‘on-tap company’ that she has, but she can always go back to her room to be alone.”

“I spoke to her the other day and asked what she’d been doing and she said, ‘I don’t know, love I’ve just been busy.’ I mean that’s the best thing in the world for Mum to be busy like that.”

“She’s just loving life.”

While Jenny and Jayne are over the moon that their mum has found a home at St Vincent’s, Val herself has found comfort in not only finding a home of her own, but still being as independent as possible.

“So, I’ve made myself at home since I’ve been here,” she says.

“I feel that I’m home, and relaxed. I can come and go as I please. I can go across to the shop if I wish.”

“I can go to bed any time I like. Get up when I like.”

“But yes, I feel that I’m at home. I’m relaxed to be here. And I enjoy being here, yeah."

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an aged care staff member walking through a garden with an aged care resident