Family is important

Strong family connections are important in our lives, and as we grow older, having a close-knit family becomes even more special. Coorparoo resident, Joyce Stubbings, shares with us what life was like growing up with her family in rural Queensland to owning a dairy farm with her husband, and the bond she shares with her five sons.

Joyce was born in the small town of Allora, Queensland. Growing up on a farm, her early memories involved playing with her five younger brothers and sisters in a creek they had within the property. ‘We were allowed to go and paddle in the shallow water, but we had to stay away from a waterhole that was very deep,’ she recalls.

Joyce lived in a farming community and remembers helping her father from a young age. ‘My chores were to gather the eggs, wash them, and polish them,’ she says. Joyce’s mum worked as a nurse at Allora Hospital, and despite her busy job, Joyce said she always found time to make the school uniforms for her and her siblings. Joyce went to school in Toowoomba, and she remembers how important the uniforms were for them. ‘At inter school athletics days all students were judged on their uniforms, and additional uniform points were given to each student,’ she says. ‘The school with the most points would be the overall winner. I remember my mum making all our school uniforms.’

As a child, Joyce said she enjoyed skipping and playing Chinese Checkers with her family in the evenings. She also recalled the important life lessons her parents instilled in her and her siblings. ‘They taught us right from wrong, and to respect others and their belongings,’ she says.

After finishing school, Joyce became a teacher and worked in schools within small country towns. It is around this time that she met her husband Aaron, at a dance in Dayboro. They married, moved to a dairy farm in Lamington, and had five sons together. Joyce recalls that life wasn’t easy after she tragically lost her husband to a farming accident when the boys were young. The insurance allowed her to keep the farm, and they all worked hard to keep it going.

Joyce’s sons are now all grown up with families of their own. She has 12 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, with another on the way, due May 2024. ‘I have watched my sons grow up, get married, and have their own families,’ Joyce says. ‘My sons have all brought lovely daughters-in-law into my life. They all keep in touch with me and support me, which I cherish. Family is important.’

At Coorparoo, Joyce continues to celebrate milestone events with her family such as her 90th birthday pictured on the side, along with fellow residents and staff. ‘I am very happy and feel very safe and very well cared for here,’ says Joyce. ‘I appreciate the care and attention I receive and enjoy the interactions I have with other residents and staff.’

Companionship at Coorparoo

At Coorparoo Aged Care, we love animals. We welcome pets into our home as it helps residents with their mental health by decreasing stress and anxiety, helps to combat loneliness and brings a lot of joy.

Coorparoo Aged Care Facility Manager, Debbie McPhee, brings in her Pembroke Corgi, Gus, to the home daily. Gus has grown up coming to work at Coorparoo with Debbie every day and knows all the residents very well. He even accompanies Debbie on tours for prospective residents helping to show them around the home.

Pets are a valuable asset to our Coorparoo community and many residents have to leave pets at home when they enter aged care which is why we encourage families of residents to bring them into the home to visit residents.

For Coorparoo Aged Care resident, Maya, her love for pets was a large consideration for her when she moved to Coorparoo. ‘I have had a lot of pets and have loved them all. My last dog was a mixed breed with some Bull Terrier in her. Her name was Shane,’ says Maya.

Maya lived in Indonesia for a period of time throughout her life and says that while she lived there, her dogs had to have regular rabies injections.

When asked what she likes most about being able to have pets visit her at the home, Maya replies, ‘I love it when the dogs come to visit. It reminds me of my own many years ago and the joy I got from them.’

‘My own dog can no longer come in (she is looked after by friends who don’t live close) so the next best thing is Gus coming to see me,’ says Maya.

Aged Care Employee Day 2023

On this special occasion of Aged Care Employee Day, we celebrate Australia’s residential, home and community aged care workers. This year’s theme #ThanksForCaring recognises everyone involved in caring for older Australians. This year, we asked our wonderful Personal Care Assistant, Tashi Dema, to share her aged care journey and what working at Coorparoo Aged Care means to her.

Why did you want to pursue a career in aged care?

I have always wanted to be around elderly people and help them to live their best life. I find it very rewarding to work as an aged care assistant. I moved from my country Bhutan in 2022 to find a better life. I was lucky to get a job in the housekeeping department of Coorparoo Aged Care and while I worked and studied a Certificate III in Aged Care. I was lucky to do my placement at Coorparoo and was then offered a job as a Personal Care worker.

What do you like most about your role and working at Coorparoo?

I like the opportunity to build relationships with the residents and provide companionship, support and assistance to those who may be vulnerable and in need of the extra care I can provide for them.

What is most challenging about working in aged care?

The most challenging aspect of the job is managing the emotional toll that comes with witnessing the decline or loss of independence and mobility of the residents. It can be challenging to see people you have formed a connection with struggle with their health and pass away.

What is a special memory you have from working at Coorparoo?

Meeting and connecting with residents from varied walks of life and sharing conversations, laughs and moments of personal connections.

Good food means good mood at Coorparoo

For many of us, enjoying our food is more than just fulfilling our hunger, it’s about the experience, the joy, and the relaxing comfort we feel when we eat. For residents at Coorparoo Aged Care, not only do they get to enjoy the delicious and nutritious food from the menu as created by Head Chef, Karl, and the kitchen team, but they also get to help craft the menu so that every meal is catered to their preferences.

Chef Karl is assisted by Chef Ramesh and a fabulous team of kitchen staff. All food is cooked fresh on the premises daily. Along with a choice of different meal options every day, the menu rotates every four weeks, so that there is a variety for residents. Feedback is also welcomed at resident meetings at which Chef Karl attends so that residents can enjoy the best quality food every day.

The menu is annually reviewed by a dietician to ensure that there is a variety of meals with different colours, textures, and flavours.

For Coorparoo Aged Care resident, Marion Henzel, having freshly cooked meals which are also prepared onsite was a large factor is choosing to live at Coorparoo. ‘There is fresh fruit salad available each evening. It is important to ensure we all keep healthy and enjoy our meals,’ says Marion.

‘I find all the meals enjoyable, but my favourites are the barramundi and vegetables and the corned beef with parsley sauce,’ she says. ‘The kitchen also provides lovely high teas and food for special events which are organised by the lifestyle team.’

To find out more about nutritional wellness at our home, please speak to our friendly team on 07 3153 6000.

International Nurses Day 2023

On International Nurses Day we recognise the wonderful work of our caring, professional, and compassionate nurses and thank them for their endless dedication to the care of our residents.

Leonie O’Brien is the Clinical Care Coordinator at Coorparoo Aged Care and she shares what inspired her to enter nursing and what drives her in her career.

Why did you choose to do nursing as your chosen career and what does it mean to you?

I chose to do nursing because I wanted to be equipped to provide comfort and support to people, especially older people, when they are unwell or palliating.

What do you enjoy most about working as a Clinical Care Coordinator at the home?

It feels great to be part of the nursing management team here at Coorparoo. We have a supportive team who care about the residents and the quality of the care that is provided.

What is the most challenging about being a nurse?

Constantly keeping up with the changes to legislation and the standards to ensure we remain compliant and continue to provide the best care available.

What is a special memory you have so far from your nursing career?

Working as a young nurse in South Africa, I worked as a community health palliative care nurse, based at a Hospice, and practiced as a private nurse practitioner for a while. These roles demanded a lot of travel and people support. I thoroughly enjoyed working in these capacities. I needed to build up trust with the doctors and oncologists so that I could call them at any time for permission to implement pain and symptom control strategies to ensure patient comfort. Unlike conditions in Australia there was no government support. The hospice I worked at was totally dependent on donations from the public. Patients and families relied on me for everything, including call outs during the night (even when it was unsafe to do so), consultation, advice and equipment.

I had some carers on my books and would arrange a fee consultation between the parties that would suit both the patient and the carer. Some patients were very poor but needed care support and some carers were desperate to provide food for their families, so a low acceptable fee was arranged between them. If a minimal wage applied (like in Australia), both the patient and carer would have suffered. I often had to improvise and carried items in my car such as old clean sheets, black plastic bags, spare food, soap, spare unused donated medications, and medical equipment (sometimes very old but usable, e.g. enemas etc.) to ensure patient comfort and support. Some could not even afford simple items such as food to have with their medication, bus fare to collect or pay for medication, a change of linen when it is soiled – a cut up black plastic bag with a cover sheet assisted with keeping under sheets clean and helped when desperate families needed to turn or slide a loved one into a comfortable position. It was sad but very rewarding to be able to help, without restrictions.

This was 20 years ago, and things may have changed but I value the knowledge I gained and the experiences I had. I moved to Queensland and then worked for a large Aged Care provider for 17 years in various clinical roles, including Management and Quality and Compliance roles. Three years ago I made the move to Coorparoo Aged Care after a short stint in a contracted Quality Support Role. I so enjoyed working at Coorparoo that when the Clinical Care Coordinator Role became available, I did not hesitate to apply. The entire team at Coorparoo work well together to provide a caring and supportive working environment.