Hazel’s Story on What’s it Like to Move Into Residential Aged Care

Here is a heartwarming story about Hazel’s journey and experience living in Heritage Epping, a residential aged care home. It highlights her initial hesitation and eventual decision to move into the home due to her changing health needs, and how her family’s support played a crucial role in that decision. Over time, Hazel has come to embrace her new home, forming connections with the staff, fellow residents, and engaging in various activities that bring her joy.

Raised in Preston, Hazel has always lived in the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne.  She met her husband Albert at a ballroom dance on the eve of the Queen’s coronation night and settled in Broadmeadows to raise her three beautiful children, Kerryn, Brett and Darren.

Hazel was suddenly faced questioning her ability to live safely in her home, alone.  While residential aged care did not immediately come to Hazel’s mind, with help from her children, she weighed up her options and agreed to experience a short stay at Heritage Epping and has never looked back.

“I was living a typical life as a senior until one day I experienced a bowel obstruction that landed me in hospital in intensive care for three days and lost the ability to walk properly. So suddenly I needed around the clock care and support” Hazel explains.

“Like all seniors, we are never going to move into a residential aged care home” Hazel states laughing, “But Kerryn and Brett thought it was the best option given my mobility limitations. I knew nothing about Heritage Epping and so it was my youngest son Darren who helped find this home. He did a tour and loved it.

“I completed a short-stay through the hospital’s care program but then immediately transitioned to a permanent resident and living life better than ever!”

Hazel happily calls Heritage Epping her home. “The people make this place home.  I love the carers and lifestyle team.  My fellow residents are enjoyable and I have a great time every day.  I am happy here.

“My daughter kept asking me if I was happy and eventually, I had to tell her to stop asking. I think she initially carried guilt with me not returning to the family home, but once I reassured her that I had no complaints of living in residential aged care, Kerryn was relieved and we now share great times together.

“It’s so important to love where you live. Heritage Epping is a connected community and this allows me to enjoy every day. My favourite activity is the coffee club. I love the social aspect of getting together and chatting over a coffee.  I even organised a petition to successfully have the coffee club re-instated!

“I equally enjoy the outings and my most favourite to date has been going to Arts Centre Melbourne. I had never been there before and thoroughly enjoyed the performance Doris Day and lunch by the Yarra.  It was such a pleasant outing,” Hazel explains.

As with all residential aged care homes, each day moves though busy and quiet times. Hazel appreciates retreating to her private room to reset and recharge. Hazel clarifies, “I love my room overlooking Edgards Creek. I feel at peace as I used to love to garden. I knew straight away that this room was right for me. The view and the sun streaming into the window during the afternoons is so beautiful and special.”

So what would Hazel say to someone thinking about moving into Heritage Epping? “You can still live a great life in a residential aged care home.  The support here allows you to live freely without the burden of fear.  Everyone is nice and you will feel welcomed and loved.”

Hazel’s story emphasises the importance of finding happiness and contentment in one’s living environment, regardless of the setting. Hazel’s positive outlook and active participation in the community showcase how a well-connected and supportive environment can enhance the lives of seniors in care.