We all know that surrounding ourselves with friends and loved ones can really make a difference to our overall happiness. Maintaining strong social connections in later life has also been linked to better health.
Spending time with friends and loved ones has been proven to prevent cognitive decline and help maintain lower levels of disability. As an ageing population and with life expectancy increasing, it’s become more vital than ever to look after our emotional and physical health.
After suffering from a few falls and withstanding a few hospital visits, it was clear to Monica Ryan that she might need a little extra help. Add to that the threat of a global pandemic which meant she was forced to self-isolate at home, and Monica, 77, was beginning to feel the effects of the absence from her family and friends.
Thankfully, Monica lives in a retirement rental community with access to home care. Since moving to Ingenia Gardens Hertford three years ago, Monica says she’s never been happier.
Unlike most rental options, Ingenia Gardens offers residents assisted access to home care. The free service, known as Ingenia Care, supports residents to live an active, independent life within their communities. The service identifies residents’ needs and helps them get approval for government-funded care and support services to be delivered in their own homes. Covering everything from transport and personal services to after hospital care and respite care, it’s become a driving force for many seniors across the country to make the move to Ingenia Gardens.
Monica was approached by her caring community manager who thought she could benefit from a little extra support after learning about her recent falls. After discussing her options and presenting her case, Monica was approved for government funding soon after.
“Ingenia Care has been wonderful,” Monica says. “Because my needs were mostly mobility and occupational therapy and social outlets, I scored an iPad and, well did I have fun! I’ve actually found it wonderful.”
“I’m a get up and go girl and I don’t like sitting down knitting – I’d rather watch a decent movie or play mind games on my iPad,” she says. “I’ve had an actual ball because I’ve kept myself entertained and as you know it’s hard when you can’t have visits from your family and you can’t get out and go for a drive.”
And while she couldn’t physically visit her family during the Covid-19 restrictions, she stayed in touch with them through email, texting and FaceTime calls using the iPad.
“I like to keep abreast of all of that technology,” she says. “I’m 77 but I haven’t gone rusty yet.”
A retired school teacher, Monica is passionate about keeping her mind active and was able to use the iPad she was supplied to play mind games like ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ online. She even experimented with bingo and the pokies from time to time.
“The Ingenia Care program is really worth following up,” she says. “I was never interested until I fell off the veranda and hurt myself. Ingenia Gardens is for independent living and I can see myself being able to manage with the services available for a long time before I go into care.”
Step inside our cosy rental unit and explore our central community room where residents connect over a meal and a chat or fun social activity.