Care Forward client profile – Gwen’s story

“I can cope at the moment. With that help, I can cope.”

Gwen, 88, lives alone in the small house she bought after her husband died. Living there allows Gwen to maintain her independence, something she cherishes.

“I can do what I want, when I want,” Gwen says.

Living in her own home also means that Gwen can continue to enjoy her garden, and the companionship of her beloved dog, Sasha.

Although Gwen loves living independently, multiple health conditions mean that she is confined to her home, and everyday household tasks are “almost impossible”. Care Forward has worked with Gwen to help her reach the right balance of respite and home support she needs to be able to live well at home.

On first meeting Gwen, I found her looking very frail, unsteady upon her feet and frightened about the future. She had just returned from hospital after being in a diabetic coma. Her biggest wish was to stay living in her own home, but she knew she needed help. We implemented strategies actively involving Gwen to prioritise and make decisions about her care. My main aim was to keep Gwen healthy and out of hospital, empowering her with support and strategies to promote her health and wellbeing. Priscilla, Care Coordinator

Gwen’s Level Two Home Care Package includes strategies that recognise Gwen’s needs while promoting her independence and quality of life. For example, while Gwen is able to bring her washing in from the clothes line, the person who provides regular domestic assistance hangs it out for her. Gwen’s care coordinator, Priscilla, said that Gwen was “finding social isolation quite confronting”. So she organised an iPad for Gwen and now finds her “playing Scrabble against four different opponents at once”.

Likewise, Gwen’s exercise physiologist devised an exercise program for her that acknowledges what matters to Gwen and builds on her abilities.

During my initial visit I asked Gwen what she felt were her main concerns and what she’d like to achieve from our sessions. She stated that she was very frustrated with her breathing and that she just wanted to be able to “continue walking her dog around the garden”. From this assessment I developed an exercise program for Gwen to work on at home. I’ve continued to work with her and during my most recent visit she stated that she was able to complete three laps of the garden and she was doing this daily. She also felt that she could do more and that overall she had better mobility than previously. Matt, Exercise Physiologist

While living independently is important to Gwen, two weeks of respite at a local residential care home every three months gives her the best of both worlds.

When asked how she would be managing at home without these supports, Gwen says, “I’d hate to think of the mess I’d be living in, because I couldn’t cope with it… But I can cope at the moment. With that help, I can cope.”

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