Jeff was encouraged to get help after talking to his neighbours

Jeff, 73, had a passion for gardening — in between time spent as a teacher, tutor, writer, and publisher. But one day, an injury made him realise some changes were needed.

In his garden, Jeff grows herbs, veggies, and olives, but his pride and joy is a collection of around 40 bonsais.

“They say, if you grow one by your door, you are never poor,” Jeff says.

Photo of Jeff

A life-changing injury 

While he also enjoyed keeping fit, Jeff found pushing himself at the gym became harder over time. One day, he hurt himself badly on a leg press.

“I went from being able to mow the lawns and doing everything around the house, to not being able to do much at all,” he says.

“I was depressed about not being able to do these things.”

But fortunately, help came to Jeff from an unexpected source.

Help from unexpected places 

“A neighbour put a letter in my mailbox to see if I was okay. So, I gave her a call,” he says.

Jeff’s neighbour showed him a rail that had been installed to help her get down the porch steps. She explained that she had arranged it through My Aged Care.

“After that, I came home straight away and gave My Aged Care a call,” he says.

My Aged Care asked him a few simple questions and referred him for an assessment. Ten days later, an assessor visited him at home. The assessor asked a series of questions before informing Jeff that he was eligible for services.

Jeff found a local gardening service and arranged his first help at home services.

“I was surprised because I didn’t know [My Aged Care] existed, and past dealings with the government haven’t left a good taste in my mouth,” Jeff says.

The benefits of quality support

Jeff’s gardener, Luke, now visits once a month to help him.

“Luke works pretty quickly. He is here for an hour and does everything… and the garden looks wonderful, just fabulous,” Jeff says.

When Luke started, Jeff noticed he took a real interest in the garden.

"He walks around and looks at things and says, 'That's going well'. He gave me a sense that the garden was going to be okay, which is good because I’m pretty fussy,” Jeff says.

More than anything, the gardening gave Jeff peace of mind.

“This is a wonderful service that has added to my quality of life enormously,” he says. “It has greatly boosted my self-esteem, meaning I can feel confident to stay at home for many years to come.”

“I have already told six of my friends about the service! I said, ‘Whatever you do, stop struggling, and get help’. They were glad to hear this kind of help is available,” Jeff says.

To learn more about government-funded help at home services, visit the Help explorer.

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