New year, new outlook
Are you looking to improve your health, maintain your independence, or perhaps take up a new hobby in 2018?
VMCH Home Care Packages (HCP) are government-funded packages of care services designed to help you remain living at home, as you get older.
Here, three seniors share their stories about how HCPs are helping them to do just that.
Hendrik and Paulina
Staying together and staying fit and healthy are Hendrik and Paulina’s top priorities in life.
The pair, aged 81 and 78, have been working hard to improve their overall health and wellbeing – supported by VMCH Home Care Packages (HCPs) and visits to the VMCH Wellbeing Centre in Wantirna South.
Hendrik has had a total knee replacement and a heart bypass, while Paulina has asthma, thyroid and kidney problems, as well as a pacemaker.
Their HCPs provide ten meals per week, support to get to and from medical appointments, cleaning assistance around the house and a support worker to take Paulina out for a walk three times per week.
“Without the support we would be very much struggling,” Hendrik said. “The house gets neglected because we can’t keep up with the dusting and vacuuming. Paulina hasn’t had an asthma attack since we’ve had the home help, which is great.”
As the pair both have diabetes and high blood pressure, help with their meals has been vital, as well as visits to the Wellbeing Centre for remedial massages and weekly exercises.
“I don’t know how we would go without the extra support,” Hendrik said. “We want to remain living together – we couldn’t think of going to a (aged care) home. We built this house in 1963 and it’s very peaceful here. I couldn’t think of a better place to be.”
Margaret 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 through VMCH. She is one of around 170 seniors in Victoria’s Western region who receive a Home Care Package (HCP); 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!”
Despite her setbacks, including an escape from a violent marriage and the death of her beloved second husband, Margaret is embracing life.
“I decided about ten years ago I wasn’t going to let it beat me. I’ve taken up all these new hobbies; I make jewellery, I’ve started painting, I write poetry and I’m writing an auto-biography.”
She urged other seniors to seek support if they felt they were losing their independence.
“Reaching out is so important, don’t hide yourself away. It’s not an easy thing to do because you feel like a burden, but there is help out there.”
If you would like more information about how a Home Care Package can help you to remain living independently at home, call 1300 650 615.
Our Wellbeing Centre has a dedicated team of Allied Health professionals offering a range of wellbeing, allied health and therapy services on-site or in-home. Call T: 1300 919 850 for more details.