Living the high life

Isn’t it funny how at one point in life we have all said something along the lines of “I hope I never end up in care facility” or how many times have you heard a friend or relative say 

“don’t let me end up there”? 

When in actual fact, we all come to a stage in life that a care facility is exactly where we need to be. And if we think about it positively, instead of seeing it as losing independence, we see it as, receiving the care that we deserve after living a dedicated life to caring for everyone else in our lives. As a resident so eloquently put it to me one time 

“s**t happens when you get old, we all deserve some help.”

If there ever was a way to break the aged care stigma, Estia Health Hope Valley are doing it.

On Tuesday, admittedly my first day as a volunteer, and my first day attending an aged care residence not as a nurse, I was greeted in the wide and welcoming foyer that straight away washes away all preconceptions of aged care facilities. Spacious, light filled, furnished with high back armchairs, your view is immediately cast down to the library sitting space, with the ambience of the fireplace and ceiling high bookshelves, 

I could see myself losing an afternoon right there.

But, alas, I am not here to check in!

I quickly put down my bag and followed the lifestyle coordinator, Vanessa, as she knowingly whisked herself around from room to room decorating each in beautiful photos from Hope Valley’s last ‘Country and Western Show’.

I couldn’t help but admire the enthusiasm Vanessa had, to give me not only a little tour, but to give an introduction to each of the residents. From excerpts of their personalities, their families and abundance of knowledge on their life histories. 

Vanessa knows the residents better than I know some of my own family.

The photos we were putting up depicted what looked like an event of roaring fun, complete with costumes, props, dancing and so many energetic grins. In conjunction with the photos that litter Vanessa’s office walls, it is clear that the Hope Valley events calendar is nothing short of extravagant. The morning’s energy and enthusiasm continue throughout this “normal Tuesday”, as we set the foyer for an afternoon high tea. 

I wish I had taken a photo.

Tables were clothed and set with flower vases, three tiered servers offering cakes, sweets and decadent sandwiches, all prepared in house by the hard-working kitchen team.

The refreshments are not to be looked over either, coffee, herbal tea and of course, my choice of poison, champagne!

Assured that everyone had something to eat and drink, I sat down with some of the ladies and thought to myself, 

“is this even volunteering?!”

Wrapped up in conversation, the afternoon slipped away hearing incredible travel stories from my newfound friend, Margaret…but that’s a story for another day 😉

Leaving that day and reflecting on events transpired, I am thinking, 

I must have picked the right day to show up,

but guess what, each and every day goes a little something like that.

In fact, as I sit here in Vanessa’s office writing all this down, I am awaiting the 1:30pm “happy hour”, canapés and drinks. 

Happy Friday, right?!

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