Real Care Stories: Companionship
Enjoy seeing a familiar face with companionship care
To us, your stories and interests matter. That is why seniors often come to think of our CAREGivers as ‘one of the family’.
Through companionship care, we help seniors to continue enjoying life – whether that’s by lending a hand with activities and hobbies, sharing a cuppa or organising social outings.
To illustrate how our compassionate companionship service works, here are two stories from our Australia-wide network. If you enjoy these stories, learn more about how we can support you by contacting your local Care Manager.
Athol’s Care Story
With his CAREGiver’s support, Athol became the oldest Australian to walk the Kokoda Trail. While this was a significant undertaking, it is the little things that Athol appreciates most about his CAREGiver, Bev – like the fact she can pick caterpillars off his plants now he can no longer see them.
Since becoming legally blind, Athol has required help at home. Along the way, he has formed a special bond with his CAREGiver Bev. She has encouraged Athol to maintain his interests in gardening and poetry, while also providing assistance with daily household tasks.
Athol receives a weekly home care service. Given he is still a fit and healthy man, this support helps him to maintain his independence and quality of life.
Here is what Athol recounts:
“My CAREGiver Bev is a special lady. She helped nurse my wife, and I chose Home Instead for myself because of Bev. My wife would get excited when I would say Bev is coming, and her face would light up.
Now I am mostly blind, Bev does quite a lot for me – she helps with everything. I can’t shop because I can’t see anything on the shelf, so she does that. At home she cooks for me, reads my mail to me and finds things I need. I get her to do some of the weirdest things, like picking the caterpillars off the plants in the garden, but she does whatever I ask her to do.
At the moment we are doing a book of poetry I have written. Bev thinks it should be recorded in a book and is doing all of the computer work. She was also instrumental in getting me away on a trip to walk the Kokoda Trail when I was 87. She logged everything I walked before I went and that was wonderful.
Bev is very helpful. Being with Home Instead is saving me money, compared with our last care provider, and I am happy with where I am.”
Gary’s Care Story
When we met Gary, he felt as though no-one would be able to help him. He was on the waitlist for a Home Care Package, but needed immediate assistance to ensure he could continue to live at home by himself.
His Care Manager Elle assisted Gary to get his Home Care Package processed, which was vital, because he has limited reading and writing abilities. Elle has also helped Gary to arrange a security check of his home and have security lights installed, as well as connecting him with a podiatrist and a barber, and arranging for his medications to be dispensed in Webster-paks at his pharmacy.
Gary now receives home care twice a week for transport, grocery shopping, housekeeping, medication and reading his mail. This support has helped Gary to reconnect with his community and improve his overall health and wellbeing. He has also gained peace of mind knowing he can call us whenever he needs.
Here is Gary’s experience:
“I couldn’t manage on my own and had a couple of bad falls. When I called Home Instead, Elle listened to me, which a lot of people didn’t. She said ‘I hear what you’re saying’. I was desperate because I can’t read or write very well, and Elle just gave me that little bit more courage. She rings me to see if I am okay and she has a good sense of humour for my jokes too.
At home I have king parrots coming into the yard – I love the animals hanging around here. I am getting help with all the housework, and because I have a bad back and arthritis, I can’t get down on my knees, so this has helped me out a lot. If I want a haircut, my CAREGiver can take me to get a haircut. She also helps me do my Monday shopping and get all my tablets. It’s terrific.
Elle got the police to come out and look at my security and I feel safer now. And she organised a monthly tablet pack, which has been good because I was having trouble remembering what I needed to take. Without Elle, I’d also still be sitting here waiting for my eye to get done, but she helped get my cataracts organised for me.
Sometimes when you have a disability, it feels like people don’t want to know you. Home Instead do – they are honest and helpful and treat you right. I know that if I want anything done, I can call and they will do it for me.”
Coral the Fisherwoman
Coral has been fishing all her life. She was especially excited about moving to the Sunshine Coast from outside Ballina earlier this year, but was worried how she’d go fishing on her own.
Coral’s friend’s daughter-in-law organised her a Home Care Package and chose Home Instead as her home care provider, after looking closely at all the options. Now, Coral heads out to fish at the mouth of the Maroochy River once a week with Jenni, her CAREGiver.
Coral is very happy she hasn’t had to give up her love of fishing, or her independence.
Here is Coral’s story:
“When the days are nice, fishing is just beautiful. We can get our lines in and just enjoy it. We take chairs, we sit back and relax, and talk.
Now that I’ve got a CAREGiver in Jenni, I don’t have to worry about going anywhere. She comes with me to look after me, so there’s no need to worry about how I’m going to get somewhere. I can go wherever I like and everything’s fine.
Last week we caught three small bream at the mouth of the Maroochy River. We threw them back, which was fine. I just like throwing our lines out and talking.
It’s the companionship that I think I like the most. We have a game of Uno or a game of cards. It’s lovely to have someone to take me out.
I was an angler from way back. I’ve always been very strong. I like my independence very much. Now I can go out safely with my carers. I can’t say anything bad about them; they’re good people. They put a smile on my face.
My friend’s daughter-in-law is a nurse. She organised the Home Care Package for me. She looked around at all the providers and she thought the Home Instead people were the best.
They’re a pretty good bunch and I’d definitely recommend them to others.”
Keith the Sailor
Keith hadn’t set foot on a sailboat since he was a teenager, but a day trip to a local lake made him think about giving it another go. He told his carer Marlen that he wanted to go sailing, so Marlen organised the most wonderful day out.
Concerned about the possible cost of a day’s sailing, Marlen contacted the ‘Sailability’ program run through the Royal Perth Yacht Club. She was able to book Keith a trip around Matilda Bay on a lovely 20-foot yacht with an experienced skipper, at a cost of just $10. Keith also decided to join the Yacht Club for $85 a year, which means he can go sailing again as many times as he likes!
Keith loves a good chat, and really enjoys his times with Marlen and his other Home Instead carers. Most importantly, he loves living at home, while still being able to maintain his independence and his way of life.
Here is Keith’s story, as told by Keith:
“We went sailing on the river. It was exciting because I’d only ever been once before, in South Fremantle.
“I saw the sea! I enjoyed the freedom of being out on the water, my hair being pushed around my head. It was a beautiful day for sailing.
“I’m 85. The girls from Home Instead come and look after me. These girls, they know what they’re doing. There’s no end of service from these girls.
“I spend my time doing gardening around the house. I like lots of colour, as much as I can get. Marlen, she’s weeded for me in the garden. She’s here to hold my hand. They get in there and they turn the sod. We have a lot of fun.
“They’re doing a wonderful job, as far as I’m concerned. They come early, they provide all the meals and they even find my favourite fish for dinner.”
Here is Keith’s story, as told by Marlen:
“When I’m with Keith, we have a lot of fun. He has a great sense of humour! He loves being around and interacting with people.
“The sailing trip was good fun, and it was a nice outing for Keith. He loved it. It’s beautiful on the water and you get wonderful views of the Perth skyline.
“When things got quiet, he took to singing or recounting a bit of poetry, as he does. It was very pleasant, and I’m glad we could give him that experience.
“It is rewarding, being a carer. I love it, and I chose to be a carer because I could see what a difference it made. They need someone there all the time.
“I find it very rewarding, and I feel I can give back to the community.”