Jun 24, 2020

“I felt a boulder was taken off my shoulders. The load had lifted.”

Lorraine and Norman, both 89, have been married for 46 years, and though they are both experiencing some of the challenges associated with ageing, they continue to work together as a team, and their love and support for each other, along with a little help from the community, has enabled them to continue living happily in their own home.

Lorraine is slowly losing her sight and has a fractured pelvis, but walks around the home with the aid of a frame. She uses her memory to get around. Lorraine still maintains an immaculate home and is as house proud as ever, keeping herself busy tidying up, dusting, and wiping down surfaces.

Norman has osteoarthritis, but he still enjoys gardening and has recently had his driver’s license renewed.

Together, Norman and Lorraine like to visit their local shops, Norman pushing Lorraine gently along in her wheelchair. 

Diane, their daughter, lives two streets away and she pops in to see them every day. She helps with tasks like reading the mail, and she can ensure the couple are on track. Her visits give Lorrain and Norman company to look forward to.

Diane understands the care needs of older people, having previously worked as an activity coordinator in an aged care facility.

So when Lorraine had a fall and broke her pelvis a few years ago, Diane knew it was time to step in and get some extra help for the couple at home. 

She helped them navigate My Aged Care and ACAT assessments, and then assisted them arranging their  home care package.

But with Diane the only child living locally, it was a heavy responsibility on her to look after both Diane and Norman. There was the added task of the huge amount of paperwork necessary to arrange the care they needed. At the same time, Diane began to experience her own health issues. “I was overwhelmed,” Diane explained.

Realising she needed additional support, Diane reached out to Carers Queensland.

“The staff at Carers Queensland are very empathetic,” she said. They listened to her needs and were helpful in guiding her towards the resources she needed.

Carers Queensland directed her to Empower Care. “From then on I’ve never looked back,” Diane said.

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The responsibility of caring alone was lifted

Two staff members from Empower Care came out to visit Diane, Lorraine and Norman. 

“They were lovely people. After being there about an hour, we felt so comfortable with everything. They had a cup of tea, they talked to mum, they had a couple of jokes. It was just really nice, and reassuring that the help’s there. We needed it,” Diane said.

“I felt a boulder was taken off my shoulders. The load had lifted.”

The people running Empower Care are “really caring”, and the staff they employ are “lovely”, Diane said. “They’re all qualified and they’re empathetic towards older people. It’s really made it a lot easier.”

Any problems that do arise are always resolved promptly. “I only have to ring them and it’s sorted very quickly,” she said.

Living independently with some help

Diane and Norman don’t receive a huge amount of help; they could have more if they wanted it. Lorraine has been assessed as having High Care – Level 4 needs. But they can manage well with a cleaner once a week and some help in the garden. Lorraine also has one hour of personal care a week to help with showering, and Empower also helps by providing Gaviscon and Sustagen.

Apart from that, the couple manage on their own. 

“They work as a pair; they’re a wonderful tag team. They do duties together, and they support each other. They get on really well. They’ve done really well with the support from Empower Care,” Diane said.

“They keep each other going,” she observed. 

“Every day they’ve got something to look forward to. They’ve got a beautiful garden, now that they’ve got someone to come in and help with it, that’s taken a lot of pressure off dad. Now he can go at his own pace.”

If the couple do require more help in time they will be able to access it, with the aim always to be to stay in their own home. 

“They don’t want to go anywhere. They want to stay where they are,” Diane noted. “They’re independent. They’re able to live quite independently – with some help. They love their home. ”

For more information about Empower Care, you can visit their website, or contact them on 07 3900 8100 or empowercare@carersqld.com.au.

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