Residents of Rosalie
Rosalie Nursing Care Centre, Alzheimer’s Queensland’s specialist nursing home for women, caters for 40 ladies aged over 60, all of whom have different complex needs.
Our recent post about Rosalie explains the ins and out of its programs and services but family members of two current residents also share their experiences with us, below.
Robert Stuart, 73
Husband of Rosalie resident, Janice, 71
“Jan moved into Rosalie in January 2013. She has Primary Progressive Aphasia (a neurological condition which leads to a progressive loss of speech and language).
My daughter and I first noticed something different about Jan back in 2003. She was using the wrong words in certain sentences, and it progressed from there. We took her to various doctors and specialists and when she was diagnosed, we continued living well for five or six years. We did a lot of travelling but I always knew that we’d end up at a point where Jan would be in a nursing care facility.
I looked after Jan for as long as I could before things started getting difficult. The onset was very slow and drawn out but the decline was very sharp. She was getting aggressive and it was very hard to manage as she was so headstrong. Jan’s been headstrong before – but in a nice way – she’s always been a good partner for me.
With the aggression, I knew we’d eventually need help. I probably would have gone on a bit longer but my daughter was worried about my weight loss and wellbeing. It got to a point where we had a particularly bad day and Jan had to go into hospital. We were lucky that after three weeks in there, Marion (Rosalie’s Director of Care) rang to tell us there was a space free at Rosalie for Jan.
The care at Rosalie is excellent. Before Jan moved there, we visited about eight care centres and out of those, there were only two others that we would’ve considered putting her into. Rosalie was always number one. Even though some of the others were very luxurious, they had no soul. The care was very professional but there was no communication as such between the residents and the carers. The staff at Rosalie look after all of us. It’s two-way care – not only for the residents, but for their families also.
Unfortunately, Jan can’t walk now – I bought her a nice wheelchair and she’s been in that since last year. Before that, she loved walking and was quite a fit lady. She also hasn’t been able to communicate since 2011 – it’s such an insidious condition.
We’ll have been married 42 years this coming January and I come to visit Jan every day. At Rosalie, it’s a case of making sure that she’s comfortable – and that’s the most important thing.”
Leah Cotterell, 55
Daughter of Rosalie resident, Mavis, 89
“My mum, Mavis, is at Rosalie and has vascular dementia. She’s been there for two and a half years and is doing so well.
Mum’s symptoms started five years ago and she was in significant denial. There were difficulties in the first stages of dementia as mum was quite aggressive. We had a long period of dysfunction - she lost a lot of weight and things went from bad to worse. It took a couple of years before her cognition declined – it accelerated with the hallucinations. When the hallucinations started to occur, then any chance of creating a sense of reasoned action was impossible.
When mum had a fall and broke her arm, she was in a specialist ward in the hospital for a few months whilst we tried to find a home for her with the right culture - not necessarily one with all the mod cons and flash décor. I was really interested in mum’s emotional needs being met – that’s what I felt would support her. I found that in Rosalie.
When I went to Rosalie, I saw that the ladies were moving around very freely and there was a lot of emphasis on giving them opportunities to make decisions. Every day they have some pleasures and surprises. Because of the lack of short-term memory, it seems to me that the most important thing is that each day mum gets attention and gets pampered. It’s a series of things that are pleasant and uplifting – and that way, her mood’s supported.
On the whole, the ladies at Rosalie are very calm because they’re being adequately supported. The management of the place is a good balance of personal care and activities. There’s music virtually every day, there’s dance and exercise and there’s a gardener that comes every week. Mum has a long engagement with the gardener and chooses to sit out in the garden quite a lot.
She likes the morning tea - it’s always something freshly baked. This morning it was a custard slice with a cup of coffee. In the mornings in the main living room, someone’s always sitting down and reading the paper out loud. It’s the small things that count – often you turn up at Rosalie and the ladies have painted nails. I’ve been impressed that at Rosalie they take the time to put eyebrow pencil on mum because that’s what she loves – she loves to have eyebrows. The ladies are treated with a great deal of respect.
My mum’s had a very difficult life struggling with agoraphobia and depression, but at Rosalie she’s supported and there’s a really good culture. The routine there is fantastic - mum’s content and feels at home.”
Learn more about the Rosalie Nursing Care Centre or if you’d like support or further information about dementia, please call our 24-hour Advice Line on 1800 639 331.
Words: Ash Anand