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Resident story: Carmel’s life of community and care at TriCare Upper Mt Gravatt

Carmel Drysdale has been a part of the TriCare community for over 12 years, initially living independently in Retirement Living before transitioning to Upper Mt Gravatt Aged Care Residence eight months ago. Carmel’s move to Aged Care meant daily tasks like cooking, washing and cleaning could be handled for her, allowing Carmel more time to enjoy her days fully. 

But Carmel’s life at TriCare is far from quiet; Carmel is dearly loved, and her family is an integral part of her life, with her five daughters and relatives popping in every day of the week to make new memories.

“There is somebody from the family to visit mum every day, which is really nice,” Carmel’s daughter Robyn said. 

When asked about her five daughters, Carmel said “They’re all lovely, if you tried to pick one, you wouldn’t be able to.” 

Carmel’s daughters support their mother to look and feel her best with every visit, filling the facility with love and kindness as they help Carmel with her makeup, hair, or choose the perfect pair of earrings for the day. 

“What have you got five daughters for if they can’t help you with your appearance?” Carmel’s daughter Diana says. 

Carmel’s family also used the facility’s dining room for a delightful morning tea to celebrate the recent Mother’s Day together, a special and convenient gathering. 

“Have you been in the dining room? It was absolutely gorgeous,” Carmel’s daughter Robyn said, “There we were, 12 of us. We all booked it as a family. We do those three to four times a year, It’s like being at the Hilton.”

“And Grandma doesn’t have to travel,” Carmel’s granddaughter Nicole added. 

In between visits from her loved ones, Carmel enjoys participating in the wide range of social activities available at TriCare and likes to get involved in everything from morning exercise classes to picture bingo parties.

“I don’t know how people get the idea you don’t have any freedom [when living in Aged Care], because nobody ever stops me from doing whatever I like,” Carmel said.

While Carmel enjoys most activities, Friday night karaoke is a particular highlight for Carmel each week as her daughter Diana comes along for the singing party too. 

“Singing is on Fridays,” Robyn said, “No one’s allowed to take that day, that’s Di’s [Diana’s] day. It’s happy hour and singing, so it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Carmel’s sharp memory and delightful company also makes her a highly sought-after trivia team member, according to her daughters. 

“Everyone wants mum on their trivia team,” Robyn said, “When we went on cruises with Mum, everybody wanted her on their trivia team because we won a prize every single day.”

Carmel speaks highly of the community and care provided by TriCare, and she is appreciative of the friends she’s made and the nurses who care for her.

“I haven’t met anyone I don’t like,” Carmel said.

“Oh, the staff are just lovely. They’re all very nice, and if you need anything, they just get it.”

When it comes to choosing the right Aged Care option for a loved one, Carmel’s daughters advise finding somewhere convenient and close to loved ones to make visiting easy.

Carmel’s daughters say they also prioritised support in their search for Aged Care for their mother, as the facility itself provides a sense of security and comfort not just for Carmel but for her family too.

“Mum had so many friends, she had such an active social life. The hardest thing was getting her to step back because she’d get so tired,” Diana said.

“And one of our biggest fears was that if she had a problem, whether she fell over or had an accident, there was no one to call.”

Carmel’s family speaks highly of the TriCare team at every interaction from the medical team in the facility to management in the head office, with special mention of Elizabeth, the facility’s manager, Jenifa at the front desk, and all of the caring nurses who have supported them throughout this chapter. 

“Everyone at all levels we’ve been dealing with have always been very helpful, whether they’re in the head office or here in the facility, because in the beginning you just need so much guidance,” Leanne said.

“It’s given so much ease to Mum, especially knowing that she’s in such a safe place where she’s looked after and cared for.

“If there’s any health concerns, we tell the nurse who is there and it’s organised. The doctor is there within a day really, but if it’s something major, the doctor will be there almost within the hour.

“But if it’s something that you’re just generally concerned about, the doctor will know about it the next time he visits because they [the nurses] have reported it to him.”

Carmel’s story is a testament to her fulfilling life of family and support. At TriCare, she continues to thrive, surrounded by friends, family, and a caring team that makes every day a little easier and a lot more enjoyable.

Learn more about Upper Mount Gravatt Aged Care Residence or book an inspection by calling (07) 3343 9254.