Some of my assignments finding aged care accommodation for clients are more challenging than others, which was the case when a financial planner recently asked me to assist in finding suitable accommodation for one of his long-time clients, called “John” for the purpose of this story. John, at 64 had been living independently in a retirement complex in Melbourne for 8 years, he has a speech impediment, excellent hearing and unsteady gait. He was the youngest in the complex that had an average age of 91 years. He felt out of place with neighbours so much older and had difficulty navigating the stairs in the complex. With no living relatives he relied completely on his church for support. The other residents felt uncomfortable around him as he couldn’t cope with loud noises and would react by moaning or throwing himself on the floor and banging his head.
He was able to communicate with me by writing when I visited him, but would react by rocking and crying if I gave him an answer he didn’t like. He belonged to a community church within walking distance and attended a nearby gym regularly. He wanted affordable accommodation as close to the church and gym as his current address. Not an easy task. We investigated several other independent living apartments, providing support later if needed, but they were not in the area, so didn’t suit. We even looked at
whether he could afford to purchase his own flat in the area, but it was beyond his means. Then one day I noticed a small retirement unit just down the road with a vacancy sign.
It was owned by a church provider and had been recently renovated. Access was good being on the ground floor, affording him privacy but nearby company when needed. He fell in love with it. Providence was on his side and he was bought out of his current accommodation immediately, providing the means to pay for his new unit. When he moved in I sent a letter to the other residents introducing John and how to communicate with him, to smooth the transition to his new home.