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After a lifetime of independence, no longer being able to care for yourself can feel like losing part of who you are. One rest home resident explains that being angry and upset is completely normal, but things do get better.
Chris Whitta was an integral part of the New Zealand broadcasting scene for more than 40 years before a stroke left him almost speechless and immobile last November. He spent a few months in hospital before moving to Enliven’s Cashmere Home, a hospital-level care facility in Johnsonville.
He says he thought rest homes were places where people lose their dignity and their identity – but a few days after his arrival at Cashmere Home he realised that the home, and its staff, were special.
“It’s only natural that a new resident may be concerned about how they may be viewed, but let me assure you that the misgivings I initially had, disappeared completely,” says Chris.
“I became aware of the care and comfort that every resident, no matter age or disability, receives at Cashmere. Each person is treated by staff as an equal and special individual. They are really caring. They are wonderful.”
He believes the staff treat residents like their own family.
“The staff are very caring people. They aren’t the most highly paid people in the world but it doesn’t seem to worry them, they love the work they do.
“They made me understand how much they cared. Even if they’d never even met me, that didn’t matter, they just looked after me and encouraged me in such an amazing way.”
Chris stayed at Cashmere Home for several months. Since then his speech and mobility has improved meaning he no longer requires hospital level care at Cashmere Home. He is now living at Enliven’s Huntleigh Home in Karori.
“When it came time to leave Cashmere I wanted to go to another Enliven home where I knew how wonderful the staff would be.”