It is difficult to put into words the positive impact that having support from Care Connect had not only for my parents, but also for my brother, sister and I – Jacinta, Victoria
Jacinta and her brother and sister were concerned about their Mum’s declining cognitive state. “We had been independently to visit her GP to discuss our concerns, and then again with Mum (Patricia). The GP suggested we also have Dad (Peter) tested.” So, whilst it was saddening, they were not entirely surprised to receive a diagnosis of ‘Dementia related to Alzheimer’s’ for Mum, but it was a shock when their Dad received the same diagnosis.
Jacinta’s family started on what was their hardest, yet in other ways very special, journey together.
Peter had always lived in the same country community. He was very well respected and was passionate about helping out wherever he could, but he never wanted any recognition. In painting a picture of her philanthropic father, Jacinta recalls a time when her dad got upset after making a very significant donation of hay to a bushfire affected area, which was then reported in the local newspaper. “He had loaded up our truck three times, and driven it to the affected regions many kilometres away. He’d done this in his usual supportive fashion and was just happy to be able to help out those in need. He wasn’t best pleased when the local newspaper painted him as a hero.”
Having parents like this made it even harder for Jacinta and her sister to get them to accept help, particularly if it was associated with ‘government funding.’ As Peter politely put it, to the lady who came to the house to discuss home care packages: “I am sure you have other people that need the help more than us. As a family we pride ourselves on giving and helping others.”
And, although Jacinta respected her father’s fierce independence, it really took its toll on the family.
Jacinta and her sister both lived a five-hour round trip away. Their brother lived overseas. Both girls had full time jobs, and teenage children who also needed their support, but as things deteriorated with their parents’ health, Jacinta and her sister were needed more and more. So, they started an exhausting cycle of alternating weekends travelling up to visit them. A rushed weekend of house cleaning, shopping, checking use-by dates, collecting bills to be paid etc. “All of our annual leave was spent up with them, supporting them, and then when that wasn’t enough we had to start taking unpaid leave.”
Eventually, with the help of Care Connect, Jacinta and her sister were able to organise some assistance for their mother through a Home Care Package. “It is difficult to put into words the positive impact that it had not only for my parents but also for my sister and I. My parents could now enjoy the things that they could do, and even looked forward to the socialisation with their Care Connect in-home care providers.
“My parents had a huge garden that had got on top of all of us. When we got some help to bring it all back under control, it helped on lots of levels.” It had been a source of a lot of stress for Peter, and it was also a matter of pride – as it showed that perhaps they weren’t coping. But once the help was there, the garden brought Jacinta’s parents a lot of joy, as they were now able to get on with the fun things like planting out seasonal potted colour, and not have to worry about the harder work that was becoming difficult for them.
“We were also so grateful for the extra help inside the home, as it essentially meant that we got to be daughters again (and weren’t always exhausted)! The visits became less about how much we could get done before we had to go on the road again, and more about enjoying each other’s company.
“We were able to enjoy the garden together, take our parents out on trips such as to a winery for lunch or to the local cinema with mum to give dad a bit of a break. As we were all far away, it also meant for us the peace of mind that we had others checking in on them.”
For Jacinta and her siblings, it is quite difficult to put into words just how much joy and relief that support from Care Connect meant to their family. Both parents have now passed away, but Jacinta says that “to be able to spend that quality time with them in their later years was very precious and is treasured.”
If you’re like Jacinta and her siblings and have an independent loved one that could benefit from a little, or more support at home, Care Connect can help. From assisting with the application process to being a trusted independent adviser that has the expertise to help with planning, budgeting, and providing the care to keep your loved one safe, Care Connect supports you so that your loved ones can continue to live happily at home, and in their community.