At Opal Healthcare's Norah Head Care Community, lifestyle coordinator Allison enjoyed a very special friendship with her wonderful meaningful mate, Norma.
Having a ‘meaningful mate’ is one of the ways Opal's team help residents to foster genuine social connections and friendships in their Care Communities.
Often these friendships begin with a common interest and Allison's story shows just how important these connections are for residents, their families and the Opal team.
Norma moved into Norah Head Care Community in 2019 and in those early days was very quiet and shy, however she had a sparkle in her eye whenever they spoke about her family. Allison would often find her outside in the sunshine with her feet up on her walker. “She would tell me she was a sunshine baby,” says Allison.
Norma and Allison quickly formed a bond, enjoying tea in the sunshine while Norma told stories about her dear husband Wally and their three children.
Allison discovered they shared a love of knitting. “Norma was thrilled to tell me that her granddaughters were both expecting baby girls within a month of each other. We made plans to knit them beautiful little jackets and booties,” says Allison.
Then COVID happened and while Norma missed having regular visits with her family, she and Allison would sit and chat together, knitting the tiny jackets. Norma proudly showed them off to her family during Zoom calls and Gates of Love visits. Over this time, Norma and Allison relished one another’s company, which also gave Norma’s family reassurance and comfort during the pandemic.
The sweet baby girls were born within four days of each other, and there wasn’t a dry eye in our Care Community when Norma met baby Minty and baby Zoe for the first time through a window visit. That evening, before Allison left work, Norma hugged her tight and thanked her for helping her find her sparkle again.
Sadly, Norma’s health began to decline and in early May she spent time in hospital. Returning to her home at Norah Head Care Community, Allison supported Norma and her family with end-of-life care, sitting at her bedside sharing stories, laughter and lots of tears together.
One afternoon when Norma woke, her grandchildren, daughter and Allison put on an impromptu singalong, treating Norma to one of her all-time favourites Michael Buble!
"While I will miss that smile of hers, I am very thankful to have been able to care for Norma during her time with us at Norah Head,” says Allison. It was a privilege to also support her beautiful family during Norma’s final days".
What is palliative care? It’s more than you think. That’s the theme of this year’s Palliative Care Week and it is a very important aspect of caring for our elders.
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