A visit to the Oldies


A visit to my parents always makes me feel like running out and joining a gym.  And then hiring a Dietician.

As most of you know my father had a massive stroke when he was only 54 years old and has been paralyzed down one side for 25 years. For many years he could shuffle around using a walking stick but time and a general decline in health and strength eventually put him into a Go-Chair (a type of indoor scooter) to get around the house.

My mother uses a walker to get around but that doesn’t stop her from speeding!  I’m pretty amazed at how fast she goes with that thing.

They live in a retirement village which is referred to as a “resort” in the brochures.   It is a collection of fully independent homes – there was meant to be further development to include a nursing home and hospital – but those have not eventuated yet.  There is a nurse on duty 24 hours to assist anyone who has a problem.

The houses all have huge light switches, low down door handles, rails and a “help” button in most of the rooms.  I asked my parents if they think they are the most frequent users of the help button because I hear plenty of stories of the nurse having to come over.

They are on first name basis with the ambulance crew – not because they are ill often and have to be carted off to hospital, but because they fall a lot and the ambulance has to be called to get them upright (and checked out).

We had a really enjoyable visit with them but they will be exhausted today – that’s why I restrict my visits to a day at a time.  We will have a few more day trips up there while we are here.

It really is lovely to see them but I always leave there feeling a bit frightened for my own future!  (and making plans in my head for a healthier lifestyle).

I think I know why the manservant might be a tad nervous in a car with me.  It’s not so much that we are driving on the left;  it’s that I’m driving on the left and taking photos at the same time!   The Freeway going north at 7am was basically deserted:

Dappled roadway from the freeway into the little seaside hamlet where they live:

All the houses in the “resort”  look very similar: 

But there are some nice water features:

My mother gets plenty of time to do her scrapbooking –  she is doing our family trees in scrapbook form and they are simply beautiful:

My father enjoys just pottering around with his pot plants  – he can do this while sitting in his go-chair:

On the way back we detoured off the freeway and dawdled through Karuah which sits on the Karuah River prompting the manservant to comment that at least you only had to remember the name of your town to know which river you are on:

We drove down beside the river and found some graffiti:  

And oyster racks: 

They sell freshly shucked oysters from the back of the shed:

Karuah used to be a stopping point on the highway but then the Freeway was built which bypassed the town and now business is not so thriving: 

The RSL Club looked to be the busiest place in town and I think it’s always better to have live entertainment than dead!   I also love that the building paint is the same colour as the sky!

And just to test that you are still looking  – here is a photo of me and dad –


35 responses

  1. At least your folks look to be well looked after, and in pleasant surroundings, Emjay. You look pretty healthy yourself, for someone of such advanced years. ;o) Hope you have a lovely stay back in Oz.

    • The surroundings are really lovely and they are so close to a river and the ocean but are not really able-bodied enough to take advantage of them. LOL – not bad for a jet-lagged hag! I’m only one year off the age dad had his stroke and that should prompt me to start some of these healthy life changes!

  2. What a great post Aussie May! lol What a nice place your parents are in and you look simply marvelous! Being home makes you glow! I am nervous along with the manservant though about you driving and taking pictures at the same time! Geeezzz woman!

    • LOL – today I left the manservant at the office so there was no-one to gripe at me while I held the steering wheel in one hand and the camera in the other…… Yeah they are in a nice place – I think they chose the house off the plan so they were in there right from the time the place opened. LOL Aussie May! I like it.

  3. Awwwwwwwww………..(((((hugs)))))
    I’m glad you can spend time with your folks. Those pictures are really lovely.
    LOL re the driving!!!! Wow!!!!!

    • Thank you Robbie – this trip I didn’t get down to the river or the oceanfront which is about 10 minutes drive from the “resort” – I will have to do that next visit to them.

      Waves back!! 🙂 Thank you for the compliment.

    • Hi Erin – what is our URL? It is a very peaceful place. My father’s room looks out onto one of the little manmade creeks and is full of beautiful birds at the moment – all coming back to nest for the spring.

  4. The community where your parents are living sounds really appealing. I wish my parents had the wits to move into a similar place, but they refuse to leave their house even as it falls apart around their heads.

    I confess that I had to laugh at the part where your parents and the paramedics are on a first-name basis. My folks know their hospital’s emergency room check-in staff so well that they don’t even have to give their names at the window anymore. And you’re right, it is scary. I started eating black licorice because I read somewhere that it prevents colon cancer and diabetes, both of which my father have. In terms of health, I seem to be tracking him on most things. I hope to god however I don’t have a heart attack when I’m 68, as he did.

    • Yes our parents made the decision to go into a place like this so that we kids weren’t forced to make decisions later. But, the time they went in there they were expecting the other phases to be completed in their lifetime and now I’m not so sure so difficult decisions might still have to be made….

      My mother has terrible arthritis and had both knees replaced (which led to the walker) – so far I’ve avoided any signs of that. Other than that she’s as tough as a horse.

      I’m only one year off the age dad was when he had his stroke and I do find that a bit worrying as I’m certainly most like him in temperament.

      There are many funny things about fragility which are not really funny – it’s probably our way of coping with it. I laugh at them when I see my parents trying to do certain things – for instance my mother can not master velcro!! The one material that really should be easy for anyone to use – she gets it all stuck in the wrong place and can’t seem to get it undone and done properly. I tell them all the time that I seriously hope I do not end up like them (and I’m sure my kids hope I don’t either!!).

  5. Aw, bless. Your parents at least still have interests, as opposed to being parked on a sofa and staring at the TV. I am not looking forward to being frail and falling over and then having to have someone come get me up regularly.
    Taking photos while driving – LOL – I do that. Masha thinks he can drive in the States but last trip scared the crap out of me – turned left on a red light! IN a university town (with a high number of crappy young drivers)! On a four lane street! I think they heard my cream for miles.

    • LOL @ cream – that gave me a really good laugh!! One of the first times I drove in the States I came out of a park onto the left side and the manservant was saying “wrong side, wrong side, wrong side” so calmly that my brain could not interpret it. I was cranky with him for not being more panicked! LOL.

      Yes the whole falling over thing is very worrying. I told my mother that she must be a bit like a cockroach – you know when they get on their backs they can’t flip over! She is doing a fantastic job on our family histories and my dad is really proud of that garden – and he probably enjoys the fact that he can do it in his pj’s! 🙂

  6. what a nice collection of photos-I like the shot about you and your dad. The graffiti shot is also nice and I´m jealous about your blue sky:-) Here in our holiday it is very cold and lots of rain and so the climbing is very difficult but the kids have fun. All the days Matthias and me make adventures with the kids and all the moring I look to my new page..lots of tips from Irony and it helps..LOL it works not fast but it works and when I´m back I post same shots.

    • Thank you Kerstin. I value every moment I get with my father now. The weather has been lovely so far – only rained last night. Yes it must be difficult to climb when everything is wet. I hope you get wordpress worked out soon – I’m looking forward to more of your photos.

  7. I think communities similar to where your parents are help them feel young and as independent as they can. They help older people not to feel like they’re in some old person’s jail just waiting to wither away.

    And it’s nice to see you on the other side of a camera!

    • I asked my parents if they were the “least active” people there because whenever I visit I see “oldies” out walking or riding bicycles or getting a boat ready to go out. Mum laughed and told me the less active ones are inside where I can’t see them so I guess there are a few of them…. As the “resort” accepts people from 55 years of age there are quite a few able bodied people around them – which as you say is good.

    • Thank you Silver – I’m starting to come out of my shell LOL – I think it was more likely a second glass of wine that led to that photo being posted!

      I’m going to do a bit of walking today so that should be safer for drivers – I will have to remember to look right first though!!

  8. I didn’t realize you were back in Oz! That looks so lovely, the skies and the buildings remind me of when I was there in 1988.
    I’m just checking in since you said hi to me on my new (still non-existent) blog, I hope you have a great trip. Say hi to cat for me!

  9. Scrapbooking, I’m jealous. I wanted to try that out too. Love the scenery there – it sounds like your parents are still cheery and enjoying life. That’s great!

    I like that they’re on a first name basis with some ER personell – hopefully the ER people are kindhearted, so they will become attached to your parents and make extra sure they’re okay.

    I second the idea of watching exercise and diet, for everyone. It’s good to get a wake-up call once in a while (I say, sitting here eating Reeses peanut cups that were supposed to be for Halloween….yeah, maybe I should take my own advice!)

    • My mother is doing a fabulous job putting our family history together in scrapbook form. She has to finish one more on her side before she starts on my father’s family (though I think that is going to be more difficult as there is not as much information on them).

      The ambo officers are wonderful with my father. It seems that the general population of the little town they live in is weighted in the “elderly” category so I’m sure they get a lot of practise.

      Luckily I don’t like Reeses peanut cups! LOL – I’m certainly glad I brought some elastic waisted skirts with me – I’m going to be a size bigger by the time I leave!

    • Hi GOF – yes, I never leave there without a tear or two. The visits are getting shorter in duration as their naps get longer (smile) – we arrive in time for early morning tea; have lunch and then leave about an hour or so later.

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