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Moving into Aged Care Doesn't Mean End of Life

Photo: John Pigdon with Ozcare staff member
As a society we have come to associate moving into an aged care home with end of life. Sadly, we assume our loved one won’t be returning home. This is not the case for John Pigdon, former resident of Ozcare Noosa Heads aged care facility, after two years John is returning home to join his beloved wife Anthea on his family farm of 30 years.

John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than two years ago and his wife Anthea found it very difficult to manage.

"I wasn’t coping with the changes John was experiencing living with dementia," said Anthea.

"At the time we were living in a split-level home and I was getting sick looking after him. As a family we decided on the advice of our doctor that the best outcome was for John to move into a home."

Two years on, Anthea has moved back to the family farm and John’s health has improved to the point where he can now return to the farm with her.
Ozcare Facility Manager Carmel Morgan said it is about encouraging independence.

"John is the third resident we have had return home in the last 18 months," said Carmel.

"It’s about health and wellness; we help our residents focus on their ability to do things for themselves - to do as much as they can to be as independent as possible."

John’s daughter Angie agrees: "Ozcare have treated dad like a person rather than a number. They haven’t done everything for him which has kept him functioning at a high level, dad is still really independent and we are thankful for that," said Angie.

"It means everything that dad is coming home, who wants to see their mum and dad apart? Mum started bringing dad back to the farm for overnight stays on social leave - it has been wonderful to see them so happy, collecting eggs together and picking up sticks for the fire - it means the world to us."

Anthea is happy too. "The one thing John wanted was to be with me and now I am in a place that I can do that. Carmel has told me that John is family and the door at Ozcare Noosa Heads is always open, even if we just need respite care, this is such a comfort to me."

Carmel said it is lovely that John’s family can take him home. "It’s a lot harder to have a loved one in care than people realise," said Carmel.

"There is often a lot of guilt associated with moving loved ones into care and families feel pressured to visit more regularly than they would if the person was living in the community. It is wonderful to see John return home and we will welcome John back with open arms if he ever needs our support again."


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