16 December 2021

Christmas could be the ideal time to start the aged care conversation with family

| Katrina Condie
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Syd Jones sitting in backyard

Syd Jones lights up the room when he attends Goodwin Day Club at Crace. Photo: Deborah Cracknell.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and when the family all gets together at Christmas time, you might notice some of your older family members have lost a bit of their sparkle.

It’s been a tough year for so many people, particularly our seniors, who may have been feeling isolated, lonely and depressed due to COVID-19 lockdowns restricting their contact with family and friends.

Older family members living alone have done it especially tough and, for some, activities such as doing housework and getting regular exercise may have gone by the wayside.

Talking about aged care can be difficult for older family members who wish to remain independent, but when the family is gathered together it can be a good time to start the conversation.

Goodwin Aged Care Services executive manager community care Sarah Lewis says her organisation sees an increase in aged care referrals during the holiday period, often because family members notice their relatives have become less active or have slowed down since they last visited.

She says while every family is different, when everyone is together it can be a good time to start a tactful conversation.

“The most important thing is for people to be open, honest and transparent with their senior relatives,” says Sarah.

“The older generation have a right to be included in decisions about themselves.

“Goodwin can help with everything from a bit of assistance around the home or yard and social support, right through to a range of retirement living options.”

READ ALSO: Construction to start on new Goodwin retirement village in Downer next year

Syd Jones has always been the life of the party, and the cheeky 84-year-old still lights up the room three times a week when he attends Goodwin Day Club at Crace.

He’s always been musical and leads the group singalongs, while his sharp mind and quick wit usually land him the job of scoring hooky games

However, a recent cancer diagnosis coupled with lockdown restrictions left Syd feeling depressed and missing the new friends he made earlier this year when he joined the group.

He says the team at Goodwin has been “marvellous” and, after a very difficult few months, he’s happy to be back.

Syd says his social life has never been better.

“I really love the people there, and the patrons are all in the same boat as I am,” he says. “They’ve lost a brother, husband or wife.

“We play games and sing – I’m having a great time.

“The past few days I haven’t been all that well, but the day club has lifted me and I just love it.

“Goodwin gives me a better social life than my daughter has got.”

Syd’s daughter, Deborah Cracknell, a former nurse, lives next door to her dad. While she and her family spend a lot of time with him, she says the day club gives him a fantastic social outlet.

Syd Jones with dog

Syd Jones’s family had “some open and honest conversations” with him about his ageing journey over the course of a few months. Photo: Deborah Cracknell.

She says when her family identified that Syd needed a bit of help with the cleaning and to socialise, Goodwin offered solutions.

“Goodwin was a godsend because I was working and looking after the grandchildren so it was hard finding time to clean my own house, without cleaning dad’s as well,” says Deborah.

“We got someone in to clean the bathrooms and mop the floors, and that’s how we started our relationship with Goodwin.

“Three times a week they come and get him to take him to the day club and he has lunch with his friends.

“He’s a very social person so when COVID-19 hit, it all went pear-shaped. He was feeling quite depressed, but now he’s so happy to be back.”

Deborah says the family had “some open and honest conversations” with Syd about his ageing journey over the course of a few months.

READ ALSO: Hope, colour and life at Beaver Galleries as a new year beckons for Canberra’s art world

“I did a stint in aged care so was very aware of how important it is for parents to always be treated as your parents and not to have that totally flipped and I become the parents for the father,” she says.

Before getting in touch with Goodwin, Syd and his family had a couple of conversations about going into a retirement village, but Deborah says she likes having her dad next door.

“With Goodwin, dad can stay at home, socialise and still see his grandchildren,” she says. “He’s got the best of both worlds.”

Goodwin Aged Care Services has a range of services designed to keep life active and connected. Goodwin Home Care provides all kinds of assistance to make life easier at home; Goodwin Day Clubs are a great way to socialise and keep active; and Goodwin Retirement Living offers an incredible lifestyle in resort-style communities.

Discussing ageing can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact Goodwin Aged Care Services to help you through your ageing journey.


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