For Fay and Ian, living at Bob Owens Retirement Village has eased the stresses and strains that had begun to encroach on their quality of life.
The farming couple had lived at Plummers Point, Omokoroa for three decades before moving into the Bethlehem village, a move prompted by a seemingly insurmountable list of house maintenance tasks.
This, combined with Ian’s changing health needs, meant a decision had to be made, says Fay.
“When I first came in here I knew that if anything happened to Ian I could live by myself in our apartment but I also knew that while Ian wouldn’t be able to live there, our family would be able to get him settled into the care centre,” she says.
Ian has gradually lost his short term memory and problem solving abilities and with an ongoing back problem affecting his mobility, Fay was constantly worried about what might happen.
“I was on edge all of the time.
“I was worried he would get up, start walking and then have a fall, that was my biggest worry,” she says.
While they enjoyed nearly five years living together in their apartment, things came to a head at the end of 2019.
“He hurt his back and needed a lot of care and my health was deteriorating so I approached the village management about Ian moving over to the resthome and a vacancy came up soon afterwards.”
Ian was familiar with the resthome as he had been going two or three times a week for respite and Fay says the transition to a permanent move could not have gone smoother.
“I packed his bag, helped him into a wheelchair, and then walked him over! I didn’t realise it was going to be so easy!” she says.
Ian has adapted to the change extremely well and when the village went into lockdown due to Covid-19 Fay was relieved that the move had happened when it did.
“I was quite glad he was being cared for there because I think the strain would have been too much for me,” she says.
Fay spent her time taking plenty of walks around the village grounds with the other residents and was glad to have staff delivering groceries either ordered through the village’s Bidfood order or via online supermarket shopping.
“The staff were very good and very friendly and ready to help with anything you needed. The atmosphere was really good too during that time. One of the residents kept us amused with a different quotation and teddy bear display each day – we would all look forward to seeing what they would say.”
Fay was impressed with how well Ian looked when they were finally reunited.
“When I could finally come in it took a while for him to recognise me behind the mask but he looked quite well and his face had filled out. I have found the meals here to be excellent and Ian has always loved his food,” she adds with a smile.
“Things have improved because they insist that he wears his hearing aids and that means he is more aware of what’s going on around him.”
After an enjoyable spell of life in Level 1 with activities inside and outside of the village, the couple are glad they can still be together with the return to Level 2.
“He participates in different things and seems to enjoy it and I have been able to get back to my own activities, such as bridge, croquet, cards and the Triple A exercises we do here in the village.”
It comes as no surprise to Fay that Bob Owens recently won Ryman Healthcare’s 2020 Village of the Year award and Clinical Manager Tracey Dunn was a finalist in the Leader of the Year category.
“I always say it was a good move coming in here, Ian is happy and I have been happy and I always recommend the village.”