Trevor Miller tried his first “proper” massage at the age of 82 and says it changed his life.
The great grandfather of three, who lives in Melbourne’s south-east, suffers from lymphedema, lower back pain and what he calls the aches and pains of old age.
“I didn’t know what to expect … I thought, ‘what’s a massage going to do’? When you’re in pain you become a bit cranky. But, I thought I’d give it a try and I’ve never looked back,” he said.
Trevor, now 83, has a government-funded Home Care Package (HCP) that allows him to access support to stay independent, healthy and active while living at home.
The HCP team at Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) support Trevor. They recommended he try a massage therapist to relieve his pain.
“Danni (VMCH remedial massage therapist) gets rid of the swelling from my legs. She’s got magic hands.”
National Pain Week, starting on July 24, aims to improve people’s understanding about chronic pain and the support that is out there for sufferers.
About two million older Australians who live with debilitating pain are not reaching out for help, according to the experts.
VMCH remedial massage therapist and myotherapist, Danni Babecki says massage therapy is one of many allied health care services that can support people with acute or chronic pain.
“There’s always help out there and pain doesn’t have to be part of life. If one therapy doesn’t work there’s always another one you can try,” she said.
She recommends people check the qualifications of their allied health therapists, if they have insurance and that they work in a safe, clean and comfortable environment.
VMCH Community Services General Manager, Heather Catherwood, says the way people with chronic pain can access community care changed this year.
From February, HCPs were no longer allocated to service providers, but directly to the consumer. This new model of service delivery is referred to as Customer Directed Care (CDC). Consumers can transfer service providers if they wish and their unspent HCP funds follow them.
“The process of developing a care plan and organising services is linked to each person’s goals and preferences,” Heather said.
“Some people want a regular massage to alleviate joint pain, and some want social activities. There are government restrictions on how HCP funds can be spent, but if it helps keep you independent, active and connected to the community it should meet the requirements.”
Trevor says reaching out for help and trying something different has made a big difference for him.
“There is more than one way to get relief. The main thing is try to get help,” he said.
“With the support that you get, you are mentally lifted for a start, because people care for you.”
Home Care Packages with VMCH
VMCH provides Home Care Packages across Victoria and into the NSW Riverina region. Contact our team on 1300 650 615 for information on Home Care Packages we provide in your area.