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Michael: My grandmother's personality - she's pretty happy go lucky. She likes to have a
joke, fool around a little bit. I remember growing up with her, it was anything I wanted,
I got. It was like getting treated like a favourite, I suppose, but she was like that
with all the grandkids. You know, there's eight of us, so I couldn't wish for a better grandmother.
I remember hearing stories of when she used to take my father swimming and
things like that. Early in the morning she'd go into work and dad used to get breakfast
made for him and everything like that, then she'd take him off to the swimming pool.
She never ever missed a day of work, really.
She was a supervisor at Wollongong Leagues Club, many years ago. She's very good at what she does, as far as cleaning is concerned.
I don't think I've ever seen anyone clean like she does.
It's sort of like she's got OCD, but she actually hasn't, she just takes pride in what she does.
The house was always clean and tidy, but there was never any dust. And then there started to be dust.
And then we realised that maybe she wasn't cleaning as much as she does.
She used to say 'I forgot to cook dinner' or simple things like that, that you - honestly you know you've got to
eat, so you know you have to cook something, or make something. Um she's gone from like
a size 22, a big, large, heavyset woman to verging on a size 6.
That's when we sort of knew it was getting probably too much for family members to handle. We got the doctor
involved and basically the decision was made by the family to bring her into HammondCare
and now she's here.
Bec: When Maria first entered the cottage she was quite emotional to leave her family and it was unsettling.
But after a while, when she sort of got to know the staff, she's so settled now, and she's so happy. She sits there and she talks
to like, the other female resident and they just - like they're having a social get together.
Maria: I like to do things, love. That is me. And I love it. I go shopping, I help the girls,
and I don't complain because I like it. Bec: The most fantastic thing is the kitchen.
The guys come down, we go shopping, and we're always constantly loading the trolley up way too much.
[Laughs] And we get them all up at the table and they come and they grab their
meals at the counter, and it's like you know, mess everywhere but that's part of being at home.
Obviously there are always days that are harder than others. When they're having
good days their memory and their speech is amazing and then other days you can see they're
frustrated because they can see that it's the dementia that's taking that.
Michael: Ever since she's been here she's perked up, she's put weight on, she's looking healthier.
I think it's giving her more of a purpose to live, because she feels like she's doing something here.
Maria: They help me, but then when they go home it is cleaner, so I start cleaning again. [Laughs]
That is me, love. I'm lucky. Bec: I think it's important to keep it home-like.
And it's familiar to her. She actually recognises those things. And as much as obviously we
know it's not home, it makes them feel a little bit more safe and secure.
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Residential Care - Maria's Story

494 Folder Collection
Christy Lee published on April 20, 2016
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