Doreen had lived on her own since her husband died in 2013, and although Martin visited and cooked for her every day, her Alzheimer’s was slowly taking a stronger hold and he was beginning to fear for her safety.
“I was with mum all day every day, but when I left in the evening she just wasn’t safe. I was cooking all of her meals, and doing all of the washing which was fine, but it got to the stage where I couldn’t leave her something to heat up in the microwave as she would forget how to work the microwave,” tells Martin.
“Sometimes she would even go wandering. She just wasn’t safe.”
Martin knew that he did not want to stop looking after Doreen, but with no other family living nearby, it was time to get some help for them both and that help came in the form of the Bupa Aged Care home in Donvale, Victoria.
“I told her ‘Mum, I’m not going to stop caring for you, I just can’t do it on my own anymore.’ Even though she is in the Bupa care home at Donvale, I still see myself as her primary carer,” says Martin.
One of the biggest considerations Martin had whilst choosing his mother’s new home was Charlie. Charlie is Doreen’s beloved Maltese Shitzu, and Charlie is Doreen’s best friend.
“Dog’s have always been a huge part of Mum’s life, and mine,” says Martin. “When I was looking at homes one of the Bupa staff members made me smile because I was checking constantly about whether I would be able to take Charlie to visit, and she looked at a picture of Charlie and said ‘we do have a rule about little dogs like that,’ I asked what that was and she replied that he must come with me every time I visit.”