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Don’t take your foot off of the accelerator when going into aged care

CONSUMER STORY – Ray Beckerley, 78, has been at Homestyle Aged Care Clarendon Grange in Bayswater, Victoria for 12 years and involved in race cars for over 65 years, even while living in residential aged care!

Last updated: August 30th 2022
Homestyle Aged Care resident Ray Beckerley still works on cars today while living in residential aged care. [Source: Homestyle Aged Care]

Homestyle Aged Care resident Ray Beckerley still works on cars today while living in residential aged care. [Source: Homestyle Aged Care]

Mr Beckerley has had a lifelong passion for racing cars, he began go-karting when he was young and got involved in working on race cars and preparing them for racing in the 60s and 70s.

He says he knows the importance of maintaining your passions and interests even when you enter and live in aged care.

“I think it’s critical to stay engaged in your passions but, unfortunately, a lot of residents are unable to continue with their passion because of their physical and, sometimes, intellectual capabilities,” he says.

“I am extremely lucky I am still mobile and I’d like to think I’m still reasonably cognitive but in a lot of cases, when people come into aged care their mindset changes which I find very sad.”

Mr Beckerley says older residents in aged care should be actively engaged in their interests to prevent negative mindsets while in aged care.

For himself, he wanted to make sure he was still involved in his race car passion and Mr Beckerley found that his aged care facility was more than happy to accommodate his hobby.

“Motorsports are a worse drug than heroin once it gets a hold of you!” he jokes.

“It’s my responsibility to make sure the car is prepared correctly before it arrives on the track.

“These days my eyesight and physical strength isn’t what it used to be, but I can still manage plenty of things.”

Mr Beckerley said he approached Homestyle Aged Care to see if they were interested in sponsoring a V8 Commodore driven by his friend Graeme Meer, which Homestyle agreed to do given his helpful presence at Clarendon Grange.

Since then, he has been crowned Crew Chief of the Homestyle Aged Care sponsored Holden VH Commodore race car.

Homestyle Aged Care’s support has allowed Mr Beckerley and his team to participate in their passions.

Mr Beckerley says, “Motorsport racing is a very expensive business and we got approval for partial funding to actually run the car and [Homestyle] have helped us out on a couple of occasions.

“I try to make myself a worthwhile resident where I live, and I’m also the residents’ official advocate at Clarendon [as] voted by the residents.

“I have discovered I have a great rapport with older people, which I never thought I’d have prior to coming in here.”

He notes enabling and encouraging residents to engage in their passions is sometimes a difficult thing, and may require a partnership with their family or external support system to make it happen.

“I deal with several residents here, I spend a fair bit of time trying to encourage them and at times not with a great deal of success,” says Mr Beckerley.

According to Mr Beckerley, bringing activities and services into residential aged care can improve the quality of life for residents, but would like to see more Government funding in place for that to happen.

He emphasises the importance of lifestyle coordinators in aged care homes to help boost morale among residents, as they often organise social events and activities like bingo and trivia.

Prior to moving to the Homestyle Clarendon Grange facility, Mr Beckerley was not very well – suffering from malnourishment and alcoholism having lived alone for a period of time – but is back to a good level of health.

He has found his time in residential aged care has been really beneficial to both his health and his wellbeing.

Mr Beckerley is currently working to host a drive day for his fellow residents, where he says there will be a few surprises for each of the passengers.

What passions have you pursued while living in aged care? Let us know in the comments below.

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