Shepparton senior was hesitant, but now enjoying aged care
It can be one of the toughest decisions to make when an elderly parent or relative is facing the prospect of transition into aged care.
However, for Shepparton's Bob Dowdell, 96, it turned out to be the best decision for him.
Mr Dowdell said he was initially reluctant to leave his home, but eventually he realised it would be for the best.
"I fought against it for a long time," he said.
"I said, 'don't ever put me into one of those places', but it's been the best thing that's happened to me. The staff are absolutely wonderful."
Mr Dowdell said the social scene at Shepparton Village's Banksia Lodge at Kialla Gardens was wonderful and he still led an active lifestyle, including doing some gardening, a favourite pastime.
Mr Dowdell said he had been on his own for five years after his wife died and he went through a period of illness.
Daughter Joy Rowston said that was when the family knew it was time to discuss the transition to aged care.
"He wasn't coping well and he wasn't eating well. It was just getting so hard with chores to do such as housework, even though he was really good at doing them," she said.
"It was just getting to be too much."
Mrs Rowston said the family had broached the subject gently.
"We opened up the conversation and we'd gotten some information about Shepparton Villages. We said we think you might enjoy this," she said.
"In the end, he was ready to go and he wanted to go."
Daughter Jennifer Hall said the family had always left the choice up to their father.
She said Shepparton Village's respite facility meant Mr Dowdell had an opportunity to try living there before moving in permanently.
"The staff here are very friendly and it's no trouble to come and visit Dad," she said.
"It's reassuring for us. We think his life has been extended since he came here."
Aged-care specialist and medical professional Nick McDonald said family members would often become primary caregivers, but often professional support was needed.
"Taking care of an elderly loved one can eventually place significant strain on the relationship, especially when the carer works full-time, has a young family, or when their parent faces worsening medical conditions, such as dementia," he said.
Indications an elderly loved one might need extra care:
By Jenna Bishop
As published in the Shepparton News, Monday, February 24, 2014