Help at hand for Western seniors
Margaret Lay was a woman used to doing things for others. The Gordon resident had found her calling in caring for children with disabilities and various volunteering roles until a severe back injury in 2000 turned her world upside down. Suddenly, Margaret became the one who needed care.
“That was the end of everything, my whole life. I had to give up everything and I was a very active person,” the 70-year-old said. “Then two years later another (back) disk went, three years later, another one went, and now another one is on the go. The first few years I went through a terrible depression and I was in massive pain.”
Thankfully, Margaret found support in Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH). She is one of around 170 seniors in Victoria’s Western region who receive HCP support; a government-funded package of care services designed to help seniors live at home for longer.
Cleaning, laundry and companionship support have kept Margaret as independent as possible.
“I’d hate to think what I’d do without the HCP. I’d be in a black hole and feel so alone. It’s the company, as well as the practical support, that’s so important. The carers bring the world to me and encourage me to go out into the world. My carer who takes me out to go shopping and have a coffee is just fabulous. We go out and have a ball – we paint the shopping centre red!”
Kate Charleson, VMCH Team Leader Western Region, said HCPs were the perfect answer for seniors like Margaret who needed a little extra help to remain living independently at home.
“Most older people want to avoid a move into aged care,” Kate said. “We do find many seniors, particularly those living in regional areas, just aren’t aware of what support is out there."
VMCH will be running free information sessions on HCPs from its Ballarat office at 72B Mair St on November 10, 17 and 24. Call Marianne on 5330 3899 for details.