May 1, 2020
Written by Jamie Loh
A tribute to Norman Elias, a friend to all at Arcare Oatlands
Written by Lifestyle Coordinator Güner Evci
Monday April 20th, 2020 is the day that has left an imprint on my mind and left a feeling of pride and appreciation for the role I have been doing for a very long time. During COVID-19, a lot of things have changed and a lot of pressure has been placed on the aged care industry, but Norman always reminded everyone just how well we were doing. The last time I got to spend valuable time with Norman was on April 16th, I went to visit him as I do and to see how his return from the hospital was.
The proudest moment of my career would come days after doing what I did. I walked into Norman’s room because I missed him and he just returned from a trip to the hospital. I asked Norman the usual questions, we joked around because that was our thing, ‘why did you leave us, had we done something wrong?’. Norman would respond to me saying there is nowhere like home and Arcare is home to him. He even joked about how the paramedics knew why he was complaining to get back, it was because he lived in a mansion!
Norman wanted to do one thing and that was to talk to his family, initially I went in there to see how he was and to play backgammon, but he was not feeling very well. I do wish I got the last game in because that was the highlight of my week. So, instead of playing backgammon, I sat with him to keep him company and to help him to see his family. I set up Skype and we called his daughter Ella, I stayed with him for the whole conversation because Norman and his family had become part of my life in such a big way and they have accepted me into their family. I got to hear Norman talk about his favourite grandchild (I will never say which one as there are 23!) and his day-to-day conversations about family and life. The funniest part of it was how he explained that he counted all the cars from Auburn hospital to Arcare Oatlands and that was how he knew much of an impact COVID-19 was having on the world.
Norman taught me many things – backgammon, the real-estate market, good qualities in people and so much more. I played backgammon with Norman every Friday for an hour in the morning, normally around 10am. Every game we played he would say, ‘I taught you well, you are now playing like a professional’. Playing backgammon with my friend Norman allowed me to understand his amazing life, his family and his history. The advice I gained from Norman throughout his short time with us was priceless. He gave me advice on everything and each piece of advice would come with solid evidence and a story from his youth or his experience as a father and husband.
Norman was my reason for starting football tipping at Oatlands, every day when I walked past and popped my head in, Norman would be watching football on TV or playing cards in front of his radio listening to AM of course. One time, I walked in and he was watering the garden, I offered to help and he said no, but he was happy to play a game of backgammon. Norman always had all the time in the world for everyone.
On April 19th, I received an email from Tony telling me that Norman had passed. It brought back memories of all the things I learnt from him, the things we laughed and joked about. I was fortunate enough to spend much time with him at Arcare Oatlands and I am very grateful for that. I was able to watch Norman’s funeral on YouTube which was absolutely beautiful.
On April 27th, I received a call from Ella that made me realise how the smallest things have now been forever imprinted in my mind. Ella told me that the same day I had set up Skype for Norman, the night before he went into hospital, he called her back and was able to see her face-to-face while she was at work. He was the most adaptable, intelligent and insightful man I have met, he Skyped on his own and it made me proud that I spent that extra hour setting up his tablet with his skype account. Ella and I were worried that Norman would need help calling but he was so independent that he needed no help at all. It made me proud of what I do and proud of how everyone at Arcare becomes family because for family, you would do anything. And for Norman, no job or ask was too big.
Norman was not only a resident at Arcare Oatlands, he was family to all of us and he is now going to be greatly missed. We appreciate and will always remember the fond memories and the fun times we had together.
From your friend Güner Evci
Cover photo: Norman Elias and Güner Evci, taken at the Sydney Rowing Club on 27th November 2019
Photo below: The actual Backgammon board Norman and Güner played on a weekly basis
Jamie Loh is Arcare's Community Marketing Officer for Queensland. Jamie joined the Arcare team in mid 2019, stepping straight into her responsibilities which include communications with the broader community, community engagement and internal communications responsibilities. Jamie is a firm advocate for consistent communications and engaging ideas to help bridge the gap between those living in aged care residences and the wider communities. Jamie utilises a diverse array of strategies to help improve messaging and boost brand awareness and is always advocating for new methods of communicating in different strategies and mediums. After graduating from Brisbane State High School in 2014, Jamie attended the University of Queensland where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications (Public Relations) and Arts (Japanese). During her time at the University of Queensland, Jamie worked with Brisbane's top Public Relations firms and participated in an intensive language program in Tokyo, Japan.