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Realities of moving into a retirement facility

“You have done your part, moving into a retirement facility is your time to live.”

You have dedicated your life to earning a living and providing a loving home for your family.

As the years passed, the bedrooms became empty, yet the pitter-patter of little feet now fills the corridors.

Time seems to have whizzed past, and you now face the prospect of downsizing and possibly moving into a retirement village or home.

“Being able to enter your golden years is a privilege, and this is your time to live,” says Liza Oosthuizen, the manager of the Methodist Homes for the Aged’s Eddy House, Benoni/Ridgeview Village, Impala Park.

“However, the move into a facility is often daunting, and grief might accompany it. Whether financial, health-related, for security reasons or because children have opted to live overseas, the need for compassionate elderly care has increased over the years.”

Oosthuizen said retirement villages and old age homes continually strive to offer housing affordable and comfortable options, and choosing the right fit should be determined by the needs of the person who will live there and their individual needs.

“Upon meeting a prospective resident, we take the time to show furnished units, thus giving them a clear understanding of the available space,” she said.

“For many, the loss of independence is a realistic fear. Therefore, daily tasks like cooking are encouraged. Facilities further offer various activities to promote socialisation and the freedom and space to exercise these interests.”
When making the move, downscaling is inevitable.

Oosthuizen encourages residents to try and keep their bedroom setting as close to the space they moved from.

“Waking up with new noises in a new space can be confusing, but if the room is still the same as previously, it can help make the transition easier,” she said.

“I encourage potential new residents to consider incorporating family photos and sentimental items into their new environment. Downscaling does not mean everything has to go.

“Consider passing down items that might not fit to loved ones and sharing their significance. Passing family heirlooms to younger generations keeps family traditions, memories and history alive.”

She continued, saying some new residents are excited about the transition into a more care-free living environment, but for many, it is a daunting reality.

“We see that for some residents, it might take up to three months or longer to settle in,” she said.

“We urge families to be patient and take the time to highlight the benefits of the move, such as the opportunity to make new friends, the leisure of having a vast array of activities on their doorstep and mitigating concerns relating to health and safety.”

Of the 70 residents at Ridgeview/103 at Eddy House, she says nearly 70% remained in SA, while their immediate families have immigrated.

“This is a reality for most families, and although elderly parents encourage their children to follow their hearts, the longing persists,” she said.

“We invite local schools and community organisations to make time for the city’s elderly. Spending quality time with the elderly, whether through sharing a cup of tea, reading to them, or simply listening to their stories, brings immense value to both the elderly and their caregivers.

“These moments not only make the elderly feel cherished and valued but also offer caregivers a profound source of knowledge and experience. They possess a wealth of knowledge and experience that can greatly benefit and guide the younger generation,”

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