It was nearing time to take the next step of settling him into residential care. Middlebrook House at Strathearn, purpose-built for dementia-specific care, was almost complete when Elizabeth and Peter moved to Scone. Peter moved into Strathearn House and it was a relief to have care for Peter around the clock. It gave Elizabeth the opportunity to spend time with him as his wife, rather than his carer and to get back into the garden – her hobby and passion.
Strathearn House is a two-minute drive for Elizabeth. She doesn’t have to battle traffic to get there so she can drop in a couple of times a day if she feels like it. She has got to know all the residents in Middlebrook House and most of the nursing staff. She usually has at least one meal a day with Peter and their extended family at Middlebrook House and likes to help the carers at dinnertime and feeding Peter. And it’s good to feel needed. That’s also one meal a day her daughter doesn’t have to worry about, knowing her mother would rather garden than make a meal for herself.
Elizabeth spends plenty of time with Louisa’s family, a wonderful opportunity to see her grandchildren a few times a week. And one of Elizabeth’s other daughters, Emily, lives in Sydney with her family. Peter’s residence at Middlebrook House frees Elizabeth up to be able to hop on a train to Sydney to spend time with Emily and her family, more grandchildren in Sydney. It’s easy for Louisa to ensure she pops in each day for a short visit when Elizabeth is away.
Life is convenient, easy and enjoyable, with Peter around the corner, her daughter’s family nearby and being within walking distance of all the main necessities – a choice of Woolworths or Coles, Scone Medical Practice and a chemist. And in walking distance from cafes, newsagent, post office and gift shops etc.
Elizabeth has also joined the local Scone and District Garden Club and ADFAS (Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Societies), and has gradually found a group of friends to have coffee with, now that she can allow the time.