Meet Some of Our Country Home Services Community
We would like to share with you Gordon's story, as it demonstrates not only how easy it is for life to get on top of you, but also how we can assist you in gaining your life back.
Gordon had worked hard on the farm during his life and now that he is older, all his hard work has taken its toll on his physical body resulting in illness, and recently, he spent time in hospital when his lung had collapsed.
Like so many older Australians living at home who experience an illness like this, keeping the home clean and tidy can become too much and clutter can begin to appear around the house. Gordon commented that “It all piled up behind me and became too much for me to deal with.”
Ian's story is told below by his carer Julie. It shows clearly how a simple service that connects us back to what we love doing, really does have a powerful impact on our wellbeing.
"Would just like to let you know how grateful we are that Country Home Services has provided such a pleasant and caring chap to take my friend golfing. Ian as you know has played sport most of his life and really loves his golf and not being able to play was impacting on his general well being. The only way he could enjoy it was on late night TV and if he missed it, he would be quite upset. Now he really looks forward to his fortnightly game. He can be grumpy or a bit down in the dumps but Ashley brings him back laughing and joking.
At Country Home Services we are so fortunate to have some amazing and very knowledgeable staff who can help you each step of the way so you can receive the services you need. Have a read of Shirley's story as this is an excellent example of this.
Shirley and her husband Walter are a retired couple who live on a country property in Clare, and like so many people in our country communities, bush fires are never far from their minds. Previously Shirley had organized mesh on all the gutters of their home to prevent leaves building up but they had a gable on their home that still collected leaves. The previous company she dealt with had given her the run around so when she found Country Home Services she was very much relieved to talk to Shona, “a thoroughly professional gem who listened and action when appropriate.”
Margaret connected with us due to a double challenge – a broken leg and hip replacement. Initially, nurses organised short term assistance and when this ended, Country Home Services was lucky to participate in her ongoing recovery. The first step in Margaret’s recovery involved her choosing a fortnightly regular cleaning service.
Technology can be an amazing thing especially when it helps our clients connect to their loved ones. Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to one of our clients Betty, who at 91 shared with us the delight of using a digital tablet to connect with her family, thanks to the help of Leonie, one of our contractor support workers.
Leonie taught Betty how to use her tablet so that she could face time her family and she began with face timing her daughter in Melbourne. Leonie shared with us that it was so beautiful when Betty became a little teary with seeing and being able to speak to her daughter live over the tablet and when her daughter saw her crying, she started becoming a little teary too.
Now Betty ‘facetimes’ her family and was also recently surprised when her 12 year old great granddaughter in Bendigo used messenger to contact her too.
Bruce found himself in a predicament shared by many as he had lost his driver’s licence. Bruce felt as if he had lost a huge part of what made him independent and he felt it was the end of his driving career. Through Country Home Services, Bruce identified that regaining his independence would enable him to access many community activities and reduce the need to rely on others. So, working with his Advisor, Bruce chose to purchase a mobility scooter using Home Care Package funds. He said “Country Home Services and my contractor Sandra have been wonderful in helping me at home and I would not be where I am now if it was not for them”.
Like most of us, Janice and David love their garden. It is an interest to both of them and as such it gives them something to talk about as they both love plants. However when David began being affected by Parkinson’s disease, managing the garden became difficult for them both. So Country Home Services have helped them both but supplying Home Maintenance Services for them once a month, which hasn’t just helped their garden but their overall wellbeing as well.
As Janice explains “Beforehand David would see the grass getting longer and he would want to go out to trim the grass but our mower was difficult to push especially with David’s movement issues and it became such a negative experience but all that has changed now. David looks out over the lawn and comments how they did such a wonderful job.”
Celia fractured her arm in 2013 and recovering on her own, Celia realised that making beds and hanging out the washing would not assist in healing her arm. Seeking short term, targeted assistance – Celia connected with Country Home Services.
As Celia was determined to return to her pre-injury scope of function she chose a short term assistance package that contained a range of tasks specific to her recovery plan. Celia selected a weekly service with a list of tasks that were rotated and prioritised as Celia’s arm healed.
In 2014 (January), Celia’s arm healed to a point where she elected to cease services with Country Home Services knowing full well that if she needed short term support again – she could contact us.
Earlier this year, Doreen joined Country Home Services and we are very happy to support her on her journey. Doreen has an inspiring hobby that we wanted to share with you all and it’s called Potted Memories.
Potted Memories began about 4 years ago when tragically Doreen lost one of her daughters Denise to Lymphoma. Before Denise passed, she gave her mum one of her succulents that she had received as a wedding gift. Doreen who loved succulents planted it in her garden and over the years it produced many ‘babies’. After Denise had passed, Doreen, together with her other daughter Mignon, decided to pot up these ‘babies’ along with other succulents and give them to loved ones for gifts to remember Denise by. After this many people commented that they should go into business and so Potted Memories was born.
Potted Memories turned into a beautiful hobby, with the plants selling at the Gawler Market and the money raised from these sales going to the Leukemia Foundation. In fact, together Doreen and Mignon have raised over $4000 over the last 4 years for the Leukemia Foundation, a foundation that receives no ongoing government funding and relies on the generous support of the community to fund their ‘Vision to cure and Mission to care’.
Annie met with two significant life events in a really short space of time, the death of her life partner and her twin sister. These losses were made all the more impactful as Annie was a carer for both her partner and sister. She developed depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.
Having connected with Country Home Services, Annie chose supports that included assistance with attending appointments, regular house cleaning and the odd shopping trip. Three months into the service, Annie reported that she was starting to feel better and able to do more things. She felt encouraged to get out and about and part of that was due to the friendship offered by her ‘bright and cheerful’ contractor.
When her contractor went on leave, Annie chose not to receive a replacement service and within a year she decided to cease all services. She did this as she had re-connected with the things that mattered the most and no longer required the support. Looking back at that time, Annie said “…it was a real load off my mind, knowing that the work could be done when I couldn’t do it”
Pamela has been with Country Home Services for over 2 years and is enjoying the benefits of her Home Care Package. With a Country Home Services Home Care Package, Pamela has not only been able to receive regular services to help her around her home but her package was also able to fund her new electric bed (which in her words is “Brilliant!”) and a new electric recliner.
After a few injuries and operations, Pamela has limited movement, so these new additions, along with her home care services, have really made her life easier. Pamela’s package also funds a regular visit by a massage therapist which also makes a difference.
In Pamela’s words “I would recommend this service to anybody as I don’t know how I would manage without it. You can’t rely on neighbours and family all the time, although I do have great neighbours and family but having the support of these services is invaluable.” “The girls (that provide the services) are angels walking and the gardener is a gem. I cannot fault anything.”
Richard was born in Wentworth NSW and served as a solider for our country in the Second World War before deciding to settle on the land. Here he choose a grazing property north of Wentworth and between working the land, Richard also travelled including travelling around South East Asia.
When Richard was 60, he decided to retire and set out to find the perfect place. They travelled everywhere when they came across Angaston and considering it was cheaper than most places in the eastern states, they bought 18 acres and settled there. Retirement didn’t last long for Richard and he soon found himself working in a winery until 70 and then he finally retired.
Su has been a Country Home Services customer for about 4-5 years now and she is a great advocate for her community. Su is a council member, a Justice of the Peace and also works as a volunteer Aged Care Peer Champion. This is a unique and highly important role that she does with COTA’s support (an Aged Care body that promote and protect the wellbeing of older Australians). Being a peer champion, means she provides one to one support to people going through the My Aged Care process in order to access Aged Care Services. She takes the fear and confusion out of this process because having received services herself, she understands the process and how helpful the extra support is in life.
Su came to be an Aged Care Peer Champion when a friend put her name forward as she knew Su would be perfect for the position. Su agreed and then she started her training with COTA. Throughout her life, Su has always supported the community through working in disability and then becoming a civil celebrant where she conducted marriages and many funerals on the Yorke Peninsula. It was during the process of conducting funerals that Su had often asked herself “Who is advocating for these people?” and when becoming a Peer Champion, she really identified just how important receiving services were, in her words “Where would these older people be without assistance”.
Originally from Tasmania, Ron moved around during his lifetime before settling into a 100 year old Stone Cottage in Hamley Bridge in 1996. It was here that he landscaped the property into a country garden and was involved with the ABC Open Garden scheme for 8 years where he raised money to go to various charities.
His gardening saw him win many awards such as the Best Cottage Garden and Champion Garden in 2001 and ABC Gardener of the year Highly Commended Award in 2003. Ron was also responsible for the Rose Memorial Garden at the Tanunda Lutheran Homes.
Since being at Hamley Bridge, he has been the secretary of the Hamley Bridge Meals on Wheels, a member of the Lions Club (Hamley Bridge) and a committee member and chairman/president of the Hamley Bridge District Senior Citizens Homes INC.
We wanted to share Malcolm’s journey as it has been one of remarkable recovery and hopefully it will inspire others to know that with support, it is possible to regain your health and to return to doing the things you love.
Malcolm first came to Country Home Services in 2013 on a Transitional Care Package following a tractor accident which almost killed him. Through this service, we were able to support him at home with home services, trips to his specialist and hydro pool therapy.
Malcolm then transitioned over to a Home Care Package which continued to support his healing journey while still living in his own home. Over the years Malcolm has made a remarkable recovery and has reached many milestones including traveling to America with a vintage car group, volunteering at the Kapunda Museum, and now he is on the journey of fulfilling a dream by updating his wood carving skills so that he can learn how to make a grandfather clock.
Michael joined us at Country Home Services about 9 months ago, from the country community of Blyth. Michael moved to Blyth about 20 years ago after he retired from working across many cattle and sheep stations throughout NSW, QLD and WA. With so many experiences across Australia, we asked where his favourite place was and his response was the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland. However when it came time to retire, after much searching through country NSW and SA, it was Blyth in the Clare Valley region that won them over.
Throughout Michael’s life, wood working had been a favourite hobby, however now Michael is living a little quieter life due to his health but this is where Country Home Services has been able to make a little difference in his life.
So many of our customers have amazing stories, journeys and experiences they share with us, and with their consent, we are able to share them with our broader community.
Desma, who lives in Robertstown, became a customer of Country Home Services after an injury. An incredibly independent lady, Desma initially requested weekly assistance to support her recovery and is planning to reduce the service as her ability to attend to tasks independently improves and allows her to return to the things she enjoys like volunteering for Samaritans Purse Australasia.
Samaritans Purse Australasia is a non-profit Christian Organisation providing emergency relief and developmental assistance to disadvantaged children (2-14 years) around the world. The Fellowship Desma is a member of, Robertstown Lutheran Church, is a dedicated group who create “Shoe boxes of love” for Samaritans Purse. The boxes, which are lovingly wrapped in decorative paper before departure, are filled up with a T-shirt, shorts or a skirt, a beanie, underwear, a toy to play with and 3 Bags to hold school books, toiletries and pencils.
Hear from Anne about how Country Home Services worked for her
We love celebrating the unique journeys of our customers across our country communities and this story celebrates our customer Michael Vort-Ronald, who made it into the hall of fame of the International Bank Note Society in the USA. For over 40 years, Michael has been a monthly contributor of numismatic articles for the Australian Coin Review and CAB magazine, along with producing over 100 books.
Michael has always been a collector of coins and bank notes and wrote his first article for a coin and banknote magazine in 1975. Since then Michael has written many articles, and has just produced his 106th book and is very popular on ABC talk back radio, so much so that they usually have to turn callers away when they run out of time.
Michael is also an Honorary Life Member of the Yorke Peninsula (SA) collectables club, a Life Member of the Adelaide Gem and Mineral Club, President of the Mineralogical Society of SA and owned and operated the Banking and Currency Museum at Kadina for 20 years.
Michael joined Country Home Services this year for some home maintanance assistance and stated that he "has been very pleased with the service provided."
Margaret is an 84 year old widow living in a lovely area in Yorketown on the Yorke Peninsula. She is an active member of the Warooka Garden Club where she has been attending since 1998. “I also enjoy going to a Carers Group Lunch at the Edithburgh Bowls Club each fortnight. On the day as well as enjoying lunch with friends, we play cards, board games and Bingo.”
When asked what her interests are, Margaret’s reply was “I read a lot. I love watching documentaries on T.V and reading the local newspapers to keep up with events happening in my community. I have a keen interest in plants but am not able to do so much gardening myself now.” And what makes Margaret happy? “Having a good day and feeling well makes me happy. Having a clear head makes you feel better and makes me feel good about what is going on around me.”
Josephine started using Country Home Services after an operation required her to have 6-8 weeks rest. She has always been an independent lady but in having the operation she found that she couldn’t do what she normally would do. This is what Josephine had to say about Country Home Services and how we helped her:
“Having the extra help made everything easier and stopped me from feeling so useless after the operation. It was so important to me to have a clean place and she has been absolutely wonderful. I am so thrilled of the job she is doing and I can’t thank Country Home Services enough. It has given me a new lease on life and made life so much easier.”
Mary was born in 1927 and grew up in the Edithburgh area where she has lived for most of her life with the exception of a couple of breaks living in Adelaide. Mary and her husband bought a farm which they called Black Hope Ranch and enjoyed the farming life with all the usual farm animals, horses, motorbikes etc. She has raised 8 children, 27 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
Mary now lives in Edithburgh which she says is a wonderful place to live, people are extremely friendly and supportive of each other. Mary is very involved in the local community where she is a member of the local museum, President of St. Vincent De Paul and an active supporter of the Catholic Church.