Tom & Lyla’s story: Peace of mind amongst friends
31st May 2023
It was a fall that did it.
“I had a fall in the bathroom in our old apartment,” recalled Lyla Weisler, one of the first retirees to move into the new Hyson Apartments, part of the new Calvary Kooyong integrated care precinct in Melbourne.
“I just fell and I couldn’t get up. I didn’t sustain any injuries, but I couldn’t move, I couldn’t get up.”
The experience left Lyla feeling unsafe and she started to think about what she might do if things had turned out differently.
“If Tom hadn’t been there in the other room, I don’t know what I would have done, how long I would have been there. We were living just a stone’s throw from a hospital, but it doesn’t help you if you’ve had a fall in your bathroom and no one knows. I just felt a little bit unsafe.”
The start of a journey
It was the start of a journey that would lead them a few suburbs south to Calvary’s landmark retirement living, health and aged care precinct at Caulfield South, built on the site of the former Calvary Bethlehem hospital.
Tom Weisler first heard about the precinct when a mate at the Armadale Bowls Club was regaling friends about the new place nearby that he was moving into.
“I came back and mentioned it to Lyla but I didn’t really think about it, we were living very nicely, and totally happy.” Or so Tom thought.
By coincidence, Lyla was chatting to a girlfriend who was moving back to Melbourne after many years living on the Gold Coast, and “into that place where Bethlehem hospital used to be”.
Lyla knew the old place well – both her sons were born at Bethlehem, back when it was a general and maternity hospital.
“She started to talk about it, and the services and things, and I thought, ‘that sounds interesting’.”
In February, after considerable thought and urged on by family, the couple moved from their existing city apartment and were among the first to move into Hyson Apartments retirement living complex.
With a wrap-around balcony offering breathtaking views and the wrap-around services on offer at Calvary Kooyong, the couple couldn’t be happier.
For both it has bought peace of mind in a like-minded community (six of Tom’s mates from the bowling club are moving in!), along with a comfortable, stylish home that is just right for them, now and well into their future.
“I just felt that this place had so many services and things that we will feel much more secure,” said Lyla.
The couple may be young at heart, but they have come to accept that they are getting older. “People think this place is full of old people, well, hey, we’re one of them,” she laughed.
“I mean Tom’s turning 85 next birthday …”
“Can you believe it!” interjected a smiling Tom.
“… and he is also visually impaired,” continued Lyla.
Tom initially resisted and both were a bit nervous about moving into retirement living at first.
“But it has been great,” said Tom. “We did it when we were still active, not wait until we were decrepit and not so active. We can enjoy it now, really enjoy it for a few years.”
And what’s not to like. The sunsets are fantastic and they never tire of the views. “We just love this because it has the big balcony and we have the city views, and the Bay, and the Dandenongs,” said Lyla.
It’s a one-stop shop
“It has a 24-hour call service if you are in trouble, I think that was important, one of the main things really for us. And you’ve got a concierge to talk you, to help you. I mean we can get that help from our kids and that’s lovely, but I don’t want to ask them all the time.
“The cinema room is a draw, and the fact that you’ve got a community will be lovely…”
“Then there is the coffee lounge and the other services still to come, like a pharmacy and medical centre,” adds Tom. “And look, you’ve got to be realistic. Someone is going to die first…”.
“Or get ill,” offered Lyla. “If one of us gets so ill that we end up [in the Huntly Suites], the other one can stay here and can visit. I thought it was fantastic to have the aged care home this close, so that was a big draw as well.
“It’s a one-stop shop,” she declared.