Published date: 22 November 2022
Carolyn, 80, was actively involved in her local community, until advanced arthritis made it harder to do the things she used to.
On top of that, her husband Tom had suffered a stroke a few years earlier, which also limited his movement.
Carolyn knew they needed some help around the house, but Tom was hesitant to allow strangers into the house.
“He helped by vacuuming, but it was too difficult for him,” says Carolyn.
Her sons and daughters-in-law didn’t live close by and bothering them with daily chores wasn’t an option.
Knowing when to get help
In 2014, Carolyn’s arthritis progressed, and she spent a long stint in hospital. She found she couldn’t walk due to back problems.
During this time her arthritis was extremely painful. That’s when she decided to take action and apply for services through My Aged Care.
Carolyn’s support network meant she wasn’t worried about losing her independence.
“I have two great daughters-in-law and they would stand up for me if I didn’t want to go to an aged care home,” she says.
Her daughter-in-law helped with the application process and an assessor came to interview her while she was in hospital.
The local health centre also sent staff to assess Carolyn and Tom’s home. And so, after leaving hospital, they began to receive services, and some modifications were made to the house.
Small changes have a big impact
Now, a cleaner comes once a week to clean the bathrooms and toilets, wash the hard floors, vacuum the carpets, and do the ironing.
“Our current cleaner works very quickly,” Carolyn says. “She can do in two hours what others can’t do in three!”
Carolyn also attends a weekly group exercise program to help manage her back pain. The exercises are individually designed for her and supervised by a physiotherapist.
She enjoys exercising with five other women, most of whom she already knew.
“We have an interesting group, everybody accepts everybody else, and a fair bit of chatting goes on. So, it's a social function as well as exercise,” Carolyn says.
Getting back to enjoying life
The ongoing exercise program and the weekly cleaning has made a huge difference to Carolyn’s wellbeing. It allows her to keep busy, active, and social.
“When you can’t cope, it impacts your joie de vivre,” says Carolyn.
“When Colleen has cleaned, you can really see it. It’s like having light in your house; it is hard to describe how it makes you feel,” she says.
To learn more about government-funded help at home services, visit the Help explorer.
Last updated date: 4 December 2022
What help is available?
If you've noticed you can't do the things you used to, and you want to know what help might be available, you may like to visit the Help explorer tool. The Help explorer allows you to explore how other people have dealt with similar situations, and the services they found helpful.