Having time to smell the roses
At 75 years old, our Customer Maureen Filipozzi definitely isn’t ready for a nursing home.
“I’ve got plenty of living left in me,” she says.
Maureen is a loving grandmother of two and an avid gardener with beautiful rose garden in her home. She has lived in her Old Toongabbie home for 54 years and is adamant there are plenty more memories to be made there.
“In the past few years I have had a number of operations and two brain tumours removed. I don’t think I would have been able to get through it all if I didn’t have my home to come back to,” Maureen says.
When her husband and sole carer passed away suddenly, Maureen faced the prospect of leaving her cherished home and garden and moving to a nursing home.
“My husband came in from cutting the lawn complaining of feeling unwell. He was diagnosed with chronic Leukaemia and within days he was gone,” she says.
“He was my carer. He did everything for me and without him I realise how much I relied on him.”
That was when KinCare stepped in, initially providing Maureen with a few hours of assistance each fortnight with odd jobs around her home. KinCare Home Care Workers now visit Maureen every week to give her a little extra support and assistance so she can stay comfortable and safe in her own home.
Maureen says her Home Care Workers have become her friends, helping her to do housework and look after her home, and sometimes taking her on day trips with other Customers.
“I’m still very much ‘Miss Independent. I still make my own bed and do my own washing or ironing. My favourite thing to do now is tend to my 35 rose bushes.”
Having that little bit of extra help from KinCare means Maureen is able to stay in her own home, where she can enjoy her beautiful garden and all the comforts she treasures.
Need a helping hand?
When her husband passed away suddenly, Maureen was adamant she would remain living in her own home. A few hours of assistance each week from KinCare through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme makes just the difference for her.
Bringing fun and laughter into homes
Being a KinCare live-in respite worker is a special role that Irene Vines cherishes. Irene has worked at KinCare since 2012, caring for and offering companionship to Customers when their primary Carer takes a well earned rest.
“My favourite thing about my job is when I make a Customer laugh. I like to sing or dance to make people smile,” she explains. “If I get a proper hearty chuckle, it makes my day!”
Irene started working at KinCare just after her mother passed. She is sorry she can’t share the stories of her work with Customers with her mother.
“Mum died just before I got my job at KinCare. She was 80 and I don’t think I ever saw her lose her temper. She was the most patient woman I’ve ever met.”
When she’s not at work, Irene enjoys reading or watching movies. “I’ve just read The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. It’s a suspense novel with a great twist — I didn’t guess the end at all,” she says.
“My favourite movie of all time is Beaches with Bette Midler. It’s about true friendship — I always need a big box of tissues when I watch it.”
With summer just around the corner, Irene says she is making sure her customers are prepared for the warmer weather.
“My tip is to always carry water — it’s essential for staying healthy.”
Having worked at KinCare for more than five years, Irene has met lots of Customers and heard lots of stories and advice. She says the best piece of advice she’s ever been given is: “Don’t dwell on the past – it makes you sad in the present.”
With Christmas only a few months away, Irene says there’s only one way to celebrate: “I’m Russian Orthodox so my Christmas doesn’t start until January 7, once the sales have started. I get to celebrate half price!” she laughs.
Interested in a role in aged care?
If you are looking for a rewarding career where you can make a real difference to the lives of others, consider a role with KinCare. We are looking for enthusiastic and caring people for roles all over Australia.
New flexible respite program shifts the focus to carers
KinCare has launched the country’s first ‘truly flexible’ respite model designed to work around carers’ needs and schedules.
Funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Program, the new services are being rolled out in the ACT, NSW and WA – with other states expected to follow.
KinCare’s CEO Jason Howie, said the new model breaks down the barriers of accessing respite by removing fixed dates and times.
“Carers play an important role in our communities, yet the majority struggle to find time to care for themselves because respite options have become too rigid.
If we’re serious about increasing access to respite then it must be flexible and it needs to work within an environment that changes from day-to-day.”
Under the new suite of flexible respite arrangements a KinCare customer care manager would conduct a detailed assessment with each carer and care recipient to plan services that best meet their needs.
“Services can range from a few hours per week, to take a Zumba class, go for a swim, pamper themselves or simply visit friends, to live-in care that allows the normal carer to have a longer break.”
Carers NSW recently surveyed 1800 carers finding that a third had never accessed respite.
Elena Katrakis, CEO of Carers NSW, said prioritising the development of diverse, flexible respite options is a must amid ongoing changes to aged care, disability and carer service systems.
“Our survey confirmed that there simply isn’t enough flexible respite options and people are still unsure of how to access it.”
Katrakis said that many carers find respite gives them much needed time out from caring, allowing them to focus on their own health and well-being, spend time with family members and friends, or pursue education or employment.
“As our disability and aged care systems focus more and more on care recipients, it is getting harder for carers to access the respite they need.
“Respite needs to be made more accessible to carers rather than having to ring around various departments and being put on a waiting list that you never hear back from,” Ms Katrakis said.
Jason Howie said the new program will benefit both carers and KinCare customers.
“The new services model will provide the flexibility carers desperately need to take a break from their daily responsibilities — to take time out day or night – to enjoy the everyday life moments that are important to them. It is unfortunately common in this sector to find the carers struggle without any real support, and don’t get a much needed break to care for themselves.”
Find out more about Flexible Respite services
About Carers NSW
Carers NSW is the peak non-government organisation for carers in NSW and works with all carers regardless of their age, location, life-stage or circumstances. This includes those caring for individuals with support needs relating to ageing, disability, health and mental illness.