Stephen Lane is as proud as punch of his new home. After four years of living in an aged care facility in Orange, he made the move to Supported Independent Living just days before his 63rd birthday. back.
When Stephen was in his late 50s he was hospitalised for some time, and wasn’t physically able to return to his family home. As a result, he was placed in an aged care facility. He lost his freedom to go shopping, to go out for coffee, to answer his own front door. The little things many of us take for granted.
Brooke Halloway, Stephen’s Disability Support Coordinator from LiveBetter, worked with Stephen and his family to bring back his independence.
The first step was to put in a submission of a request for a change of circumstances and an unscheduled plan review. Brooke said they explored a few different avenues, but Supported Independent Living was the best option, so Stephen would have the support he needed at home.
Stephen was keen to relocate, but the COVID pandemic meant things weren’t all smooth sailing.
“He wasn’t happy in the aged care environment, but once COVID hit he was in lockdown, so we couldn’t do anything,” Brooke said.
“We really had to put everything on pause until the rules were a bit more relaxed and he could go out and do some meet and greets.”
But with the help of his family and Brooke, Stephen celebrated his birthday in his new home.
“I have my independence back. I can make my own tea and coffee, vacuum, shower when I want,” Stephen says with a smile that is so contagious everyone around him smiles. “I even have a front door key.”
With his newfound freedom, Stephen is also back to doing the things he loves.
“He’s back at day programs three days a week, and he’s just joined a men’s group of four men of a similar age. They get to pick and choose what they want to do within the community. Stephen wants to start going to the movies and the pub for lunch, things like that.
There’s a real sense of him having the choice of what he wants to do in his life, and making relationships, which will be so nice for him. He didn’t really get to have that in the nursing home.
He’s definitely happier, I believe. Every time I see him, he thanks me,” Brooke said.
It was important for Stephen to be housed with someone of a similar age and similar interests, because that’s something he had missed during his four years in the nursing home. With Brooke’s help, they found someone quite compatible.
He and his new housemate both enjoy playing cards, ball games, watching sports and going out for lunch together.
“It feels good to know I’ve made a bit of a difference to someone’s life,” she said. “To see the increase in a person’s self-esteem is quite rewarding.
“It’s made such a huge difference to Stephen, just knowing that he has so much more choice and so much more say in what is happening in his day to day life, even in such things as what he chooses to have for breakfast, or when he’d like to make himself a cup of coffee – you know those little things he didn’t really get to have a say in while he was in the aged care facility.
“Now he gets to do those things all the time.”
As a support co-ordinator, Brooke’s one piece of for those who need assistance with their NDIS plan, is to reach out. Support co-ordination is vital, particularly for the first plan.
“We can really guide the participant in how to use the funding to their best advantage. I think it’s essential, whether it’s with us, or a different service provider.”