When former aged care resident Joan Powell resolved to beat the odds and move back home, she never guessed an imaginary ball, bicep curls and deep breathing exercises would be part of the plan.
Joan had moved to Baptistcare William Carey Court Residential Care in Busselton last year after suffering a series of debilitating health crises that meant she could no longer be cared for at home.
But nearly a year later, the determined former charity shop volunteer has become one of the few Australian seniors to have successfully turned back the clock, transitioning from permanent residential aged care to home care.
The Baptistcare team behind Joan’s remarkable story say building confidence and independence, and enhancing strength and mobility, all played a part in supporting Joan’s choice to move back home, along with the love and support of devoted husband Bob.
During the eight months that she lived at Baptistcare William Carey Court, Joan was encouraged to attend regular physio chi and weights group sessions with the in-house physio. Exercises included moving an imaginary ball, bicep curls with 1kg weights, knee lifts, side steps, deep breathing and taking long strides with her four-wheel walker.
Dom Trombetta, Manager Residential Care at Baptistcare William Carey Court, said all residents were encouraged to be as independent and confident as possible, but it was extremely rare that a permanent aged care decision was reversed.
“Providing individualised care across all aspects of care, as well as ongoing communication with Bob and the family, meant we could help Joan achieve her goal and confidently make the transition into the hands of our home care team,” Mr Trombetta said.
The home care team drop in each week to help around the house, chat over a coffee and ensure there’s a steady supply of ready-meals in the fridge for Joan and Bob, who celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary in April last month.
Bob visited his wife almost daily when she was living at Baptistcare William Carey Court and made sure she was never without chocolates and flowers.
“It is so great we can be together at home again,” he said.
The couple have already made a long-awaited return trip to the café at Anniebrook Farm, one of their favourite places.
“The staff recognised us as soon as we walked in,” Bob said.
Joan has vascular dementia, along with mobility issues, and is taking things slowly, but has already managed to return to her beloved local craft group.
“Without the support and encouragement of the staff at Baptistcare, Joan coming back home to live would never have been possible,” Bob said.
Originally from Manchester in England, just a stone’s throw from the set of iconic British TV soap Coronation Street, Joan met Bob in New Zealand in the 1960s. They moved to WA in 1993 after visiting their daughter in Perth.
Click here for more information about home care services or residential aged care in Busselton.