Home' Community Care Review : CCR Nov-Dec 2015 Contents ROSE'S STORY
Ihave lived in Rosanna (in Melbourne's
north-east) for 39 years now. It's a
beautiful area and I didn't want to go into
a home because we have terrific neighbours
and all my friends are nearby.
I had a slight heart attack at Christmas
in 2013. My daughter, who lives in Paris,
was looking after me because I had a stent
put into my heart, and then after that I had
a fall. So instead of only staying about a
month, like she usually does, she stayed
with me over a year. When the social worker
came over, my daughter mentioned I was
alone and that it would be nice if I had
someone. I'd read about homeshare in the
paper years ago and I thought it would be a
great idea. Eventually we got onto Belinda
at Care Connect.
They interviewed me three times and
they interviewed Olympia three times.
Belinda organised all of that. We also met
each other a couple of times to see that we
were compatible. We each had to have a
police check and a children's check and that
gives you more security.
I used to be a clutterer and Olympia put
more than 10 hours' work in at the beginning
-- she helped my daughter declutter my
home, which was wonderful. She cooks for
me, she does shopping for me and she takes
me to the club. It's marvellous. Belinda, as
the coordinator, worked out a program for us.
Belinda gives us a lot of support. There
was a stage we had a bit of friction and we
called Belinda and she helped to sort it out.
We can phone her anytime when we want to
speak to her. She sees us and checks on us
to make sure everything is going alright.
I have a double storey place. It's a
big home and I feel much better having
Olympia here. I couldn't have lived there on
my own and I just love being at home.
Olympia and I have been together for a
year now and it has worked out very well.
It's gone quickly and the family feel happy
that she is with me.
It's like she's part of the family now.
I began working as a homeshare coordinator
almost a year and a half ago. Rose had been
on the homeshare program for a little bit
but we hadn't found anyone, so I went out
to do a reassessment of her.
That was a very difficult time for Rose.
She had also just lost her husband in June,
2014. Her daughter, Leanne, was over here
looking after her.
Rose is very lively and extremely active.
She is a real people person.
What I thought was a real strength that
Rose had was her openness to people and
to life, and then when she started telling us
a little bit about her life and some of her
adventures, I was so intrigued. She has had
such a full life. I've done a bit of backpacking
myself, but she told me she was backpacking
with her sister around Europe in the 1950s,
and she worked in London for two years.
She told me some amazing stories.
She was just as open to meeting new
people and experiencing new things now
and I thought it was incredibly brave of her,
also given that she was grieving the loss of
her husband of many, many years. I was very
sensitive to that and checked in with her and
her daughter, Leanne. I was aware that we were
asking them to trust us at a very difficult time
in their lives and to invite somebody different
into their home. She was incredibly trusting in
us and we did that process carefully and slowly.
Olympia, who had returned to Australia
after living in Greece for 30 years, was
also coming into this with lots of change
happening in her life. In some ways they
both came together needing similar types of
things -- needing some companionship and
understanding that they were both having
some big changes in their lives.
The program is not about having a full-time
carer. It is two independent people sharing a
home and exchanging their resources. Rose
really understood that and was prepared to
see if it might work for her situation.
It's quite inspiring to see how Rose and
Olympia interact and what it means for both
of their lives. It really is a mutual benefit. n
As told to Linda Belardi.
A clever match
Homeshare coordinator Belinda Bannerman, facilitated the successful
match of Rose, 85, and Olympia, 49, who have just celebrated their first year
living together as part of a homesharing arrangement.
Rose (left) and Belinda Bannerman,
homeshare coordinator at Care Connect.
aaa community care review | 41
It's all about relationships
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