Living at Garden City Aged Care Services
Home to 54 residents, Garden City Aged Care Services (GCACS), in Brisbane, is one of Alzheimer’s Queensland’s most welcoming aged care homes.
We spoke to residents to find out more about living at GCACS, especially since the recent refurbishment of the main dining area and lounge. Not only does GCACS now sport new artwork, furniture and a fresh-look outdoor area, but the space and layout has been completely transformed, with clever use of colours, patterns and textures particularly suited for people with dementia.
We recently heard what GCACS staff think about the refurbishment – but what about our residents? Two lovely ladies told us what they like about living at GCACS - find out more below.
Joan La Rocca, 79, has lived at GCACS for five years
“I’m very happy to be here (at GCACS) because when I was living at home, I was very lonely as I was living on my own. Then my sons and I decided I should come here. Once I settled in, it was just wonderful.
We do have really lovely trips; we have activities practically every day of the week. We’re going shopping today, sometimes we go to the beach, have a look around, have a nice morning tea there, see the ocean and get some fresh air.
I like the fact that if you’re in trouble or if you need help, you can press a buzzer and someone will come to your aid – that’s very reassuring. Here, there’s alarms near the floor and also within reach of anybody who might need help.
Some residents can be a bit difficult because they’re not well but they don’t cause any trouble really and everybody just understands because we’re all aging and we never know when we might be a bit that way ourselves. Everybody gets on quite well here – there’s no arguments or anything like that.
The refurbishment is very nice – it’s lovely, actually. I think the furniture before was very old. Now, beautiful flooring has been put down and the chairs are very comfortable to sit in - some people tend to nod off, as we do at our age! There’s a lovely big TV and the walls have very nice pictures - they did a very good job. And the staff are very good. I’m sure anybody coming in would be impressed.”
Margaret Paterson, 93, has lived at GCACS for six years
“Before coming here, I lived in Sydney in my own home. I’ve been here for quite some time and my family come and visit me, which is wonderful. I have a daughter living near here in Queensland. She has three daughters - my grand-daughters - and they come to visit me as frequently as they can. If there’s any shopping to be done by way of clothing, they take me and they book a wheelchair at the shopping centre so I don’t have to walk.
I’m able to take part in the activities here (at GCACS) a little if they appeal to me. They have a bus to go out on little trips. If I don’t feel up to it or I’m feeling a bit down, I don’t go – but I do if I feel like I’m going to enjoy it.
I do enjoy the garden here but I wish I could still actually garden – I’ve been a gardener since I was very young and worked in florist shops and plant nurseries in Sydney, in my younger days. I loved gardening, that was my number one thing but I can’t do any now – I’m very limited because I have low vision. I do what I can with the vision I have.
I’m 93 now so I don’t know how much time I have left but according to the staff here, I’m doing very well. I’ve made friends here at Garden City, people are quite friendly – and that really helps on days when I feel low.
I spend a lot of my day resting on my bed – I have to be honest with you! That’s because I’ve had a replaced knee and I have a very aching leg at times so need to lay down and rest it.
My room’s lovely and very comfortable. It has everything I need – there’s nothing else I feel that I could want at all.
Now that it’s been refurbished here, it’s looking so beautiful – the rooms and furniture are well done, very tasteful and comfortable in every way.”
Words: Ash Anand