Here’s a heart-warming story of moving from retirement living to aged care

Elizabeth had been living in BaptistCare's Willandra Retirement Village for more than 22 years and was Secretary of the village residents' committee when she was taken to hospital with pneumonia.

“I know my family had been worried about my health and well-being even before I became ill, but the pneumonia was a real scare for all of us,” she told BaptistCare.

Elizabeth and her family decided that she would be safer and better cared for at BaptistCare’s neighbouring residential aged care home Cooinda Court.

“My family helped me move all my things over from the village,” she said. “The staff have been marvellous, so welcoming and friendly, and I think part of the reason I’ve settled in so well here is because of their care and kindness.” 

Moving into an aged care home is normally a sudden and emotional event

“In terms of day-to-day life, it’s been a big adjustment,” said Elizabeth.

“For a while, I didn’t do very much as I was so weak from the pneumonia.

“Initially, the staff would ask me, ‘do you want to come out of your room and do this or do that?’ - I always said no. I’m a very sociable person but I just wasn’t quite ready. I needed to do things in my own time.”

Elizabeth said that the BaptistCare staff respected her, giving her the space she needed.

“They didn’t pester me,” she smiles, “they respected my choices, and I was grateful for that.”

She praised the staff at Cooinda Court for getting her back on her feet

 “Andrew [Hall] the chaplain has been amazing and Maria, our care manager, is wonderful. She cares about each one of us,” Elizabeth said.

“One day, one of the girls invited me down to the dining room for lunch, and I just thought, ‘Why not?’ I decided to go, and I’ve been going to the dining room for lunch every day since.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of familiar faces I knew from my time in the village. I’ve made some new friends, too.”

Today, Elizabeth loves to read and is an avid fan of John Grisham novels, which she enjoys taking out from the care home library.

“I also love to go on long walks every day,” she says. “It’s something I have always done, and is a great way to stay fit, keep my joints supple, and stay in a good headspace.”

Any advice for anyone or anyone’s family thinking of residential aged care?

Elizabeth says the adjustment into aged care life can be challenging at times, but the key is to get to know people and stay occupied.

“I like chatting with the staff,” she says. “There are lots of diverse backgrounds and the conversations we have are so interesting. We share stories and strike up friendships. I love their energy and we have some good laughs.

“You never think it will be this way for you, and I certainly never saw myself spending my retirement in a village, let alone a care home."

“But if it happens it happens, and I think you just have to take note of the joyful moments each day.”

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.