Carolin’s journey through respite care at Heritage Northcote

Since entering respite care at Heritage Northcote, Carolin Buchanan has found inspiration in “ageing powerfully” and giving back to aged care.

Overcoming preconceived ideas about residential aged care

At 67, Carolin is one of the youngest residents in our Northcote home. After a stroke, she entered respite care, then went into full-time care. Helped by her brother, Michael, and our Northcote staff, she overcame her initial fears and concerns about aged care.

“I had preconceived ideas about aged care,” Carolin says.

Before her accident, Carolin led a very active life as a sales professional and amateur body builder. Her passion for exercise and diet was complemented by a love of clothes.

After a three-week stint in respite care, Carolin realised that going home and having falls wouldn’t work, and that full-time care was the best thing for her safety and wellbeing. The fact that her 90-year-old mother was a resident in the Northcote home gave her added purpose.

Finding independence in respite and full-time care

Carolin’s initial journey in aged care was challenging. She missed her home and job and was a self-confessed “nightmare” for carers at first. But she soon applied her considerable willpower, adopting a positive and empowering attitude, and a second chance at life which has been a gift.

Carolin strives to improve every day to maintain her walking. She attributes her physical improvement to the dedication and care of the Heritage Care staff and will never forget so many staff waiting outside for her when she first arrived at the Northcote home.

“I love the independence Heritage gives me and how I’m allowed to manage what I can,” Carolin says.

“Heritage Care has eased the burden of care for my family and has helped me live my best life. It has also ended the loneliness of being at home.

“This is a home away from home that provides me with safety and belonging.”

Carolin also appreciates the assistance from her bike and weights, and how she’s been able to tailor her recovery to her own needs and at her own pace.

Heritage staff always listening

Today, Carolin rings the bell for a co-resident in need. She not only wants to be a Heritage advocate, but for those around her. She loves the management and care at Heritage Northcote “because they’re always listening.”

Carolin identifies her journey as one of “ageing powerfully”. She believes that by overcoming the fears, prejudices and assumptions about aged care, she has derived more meaning and value in her life by giving back to aged care and acting as an advocate for Heritage Care.

Carolin is keen to turn her talents to children’s books as an author-illustrator. She believes that part of ageing powerfully and with purpose is staying in touch with the imagination, having adventures, and taking small risks.

A person-centred approach to respite care

Falls and recurring bruises are one of the warning signs to consider in transitioning into aged care. A respite or short-term stay can provide you with the answer and helps you avoid the pressure of choosing an aged care home under pressure (like a hospital visit, during an illness, or before a lease is up).

At Heritage Care, we help residents meet their specific care needs through a person-centred approach that harnesses the skills and experience of our staff, technology, Lifestyle activities and education, and clear and empathetic dialogue.

We wish Carolin the best of luck with her aged care journey. Her positive attitude and transition through respite care into full-time care have been key factors in her strong recovery, passion for life, and ongoing wellbeing.

Learn more about respite care


About Heritage Northcote

Heritage Northcote is a stunning, completely renovated state of the art 75 bed residential home perfectly placed in a close-knit pocket of the inner north a short 6 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD. Our residents benefit from a home with stunning natural light, enchanting outdoor spaces and a vibrant lifestyle program. Heritage Northcote offers a number of tailored care options to suit your needs including short term respite care, permanent care, dementia care and palliative care. We provide a safe, welcoming community and have introduced world-class sleep-sense technology to further increase our resident’s safety.

We understand that each person’s lifestyle needs are unique, and that’s why each resident has access to our Waiter Table Service where you have a choice of meal at every mealtime. Be pampered exactly how you choose at our onsite Hair and Beauty Services and stay physically and mentally fit with our range of activities in the dedicated wellbeing room or participation in our daily lifestyle program. Our community empowers residents to retain independence with facilities like the library and landscaped gardens for quiet reflection, or the onsite private dining room area to celebrate those special family occasions.

Other key home features include our tea and coffee making facilities, a residents-only barbeque area, raised garden beds, an alfresco area and balconies. Moments from your front door is access to transport, art, music, shops, leafy parklands, the historic Westgarth Cinema, and the lively cafe and restaurants scene Northcote is famous for.

Start your new Northcote life with us.

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