An Unexpected Caregiver Interview

As memorials grew and grew in Christchurch, Lori (my Memory Center colleague) and I decided to get out into the country for the day.  New Zealanders love hiking so well-marked and maintained “tracks” are available almost everywhere.   We headed for the Banks Peninsula and the village Akaroa on a bus from Christchurch (about 2 hours).  The entire peninsula was created by a volcano and the winding journey over the highest peak down into the village is amazing. Once in Akaroa, we bought a map of the tracks that would take 3 hours or less and headed off.

Sharing a “track” with some of NZ”s finest in Akaroa

Climbing out of town toward the Akaroa bush reserves via quiet back streets and dirt trails, we were quickly by ourselves despite the crush of people debarking a very large cruise ship at the town’s wharf.  As we walked past a beautiful home, we were greeted by a woman coming out of her driveway to take her dogs for a walk.  She asked if we were out for a walk and we answered with a compliment of her lovely village and an expression of sorrow for New Zealanders about the recent shooting. At that point, she invited us in to see her gardens.

Her house was previously the home of a French consulate who requested to retire to Akaroa after her service was done.  Jacqui and her husband were able to purchase this incredible place which had extensive gardens and an amazing view of the Akaroa Harbor.  It was definitely one of the most beautiful homes I have ever been in.  When we explained our research to Jacqui she was kind enough to share her recent caregiving experience and give us even more insight into dementia care in NZ.  What a lovely lady, we are so thankful for her invitation into her home and her life.  This chance encounter provided us with another unique voice of a New Zealand family carer. 

A lovely invitation into a beautiful home in Akaroa

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