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Staying together when your partner's care needs change

Last Updated at December 1st 2021
CASE STUDY - Making the decision between moving into a retirement community or residential aged care can be a difficult decision, especially if you are fit and independent but your partner requires more care and support.
Ron and Bev from VMCH
Ron and Bev Hawkins managed to find a retirement village with a co-located aged care home that helped them stay close to each other. [Photo: Supplied]

So what can you do if your partner requires more care and you still want to remain close to each other?

A co-located retirement village and aged care facility can make all the difference in ensuring each person has the services and care they need while remaining right around the corner from each other.

Ron Hawkins experienced this exact predicament back in 2013. He wanted to continue living with his wife Bev, however, after a stroke she wasn't able to live independently at home anymore and needed formal care.

With assistance from his daughter, Ron found VMCH Shanagolden Pakenham, which has a retirement village and aged care facility located next door to each other.

"My daughter and I searched but there weren’t many (co-located) places around. Then we found Shanagolden, which was basically brand new and stood out immediately as a nice place," says Ron.

It allowed Ron to live independently in the retirement village at Shanagolden while Bev lives in the aged care facility receiving the care she needs. Ron is only a short walk away from Bev and is still able to spend a lot of time with her.

Co-located communities can be found around the country and these facilities can be a great option for couples like Bev and Ron, where they have differing needs and want to remain living near each other.

They can also provide reassurance to older people that if their needs change, they can easily move into the nearby aged care accommodation without having to move too far or out of the area.

Ron enjoys living at Shanagolden Retirement Village as it gives him the option to engage in activities and events in the community, however, he spends most of his time with his beloved Bev.

He walks over to the aged care home every morning to visit Bev during her morning tea. He will then take her out for the day in her wheelchair, either around the grounds of Shanagolden, to the local shops or out into the community.

"I was a member of the Pakenham Bowling Club for four years and had a great time there. I loved playing bowls and enjoyed myself immensely, but I thought my time was better spent with Bev and taking her to all the places I could manage to do," explains Ron.

Ron is still fit and able to live independently at the village, however, if he does require extra support, VMCH can also help organise a range of in-home services such as domestic assistance, access to allied health services, respite services, and transport to any personal appointments or for shopping.

For now, Ron is quite content spending his days with Bev, his wife of 61 years, and making sure she is happy and doing things in the community together.

"It’s amazing how she’s put up with me for all this time! What I’ve got left in life is her," says Ron.

If you’d like to find out more about VMCH’s co-located retirement living and residential aged care options, visit the VMCH website or call 1300 698 624.

*Case study provided by VMCH Australia

Have you considered a co-located retirement village and aged care home as an option for yourself and your partner? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Finding the right retirement village for you
What to consider when deciding on a nursing home
Downsizing and moving into a retirement village

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