Support at home: the choice is yours
Recent changes to the way homebased aged care support services are provided are designed to give older people greater choice and control over the way they are supported to continue living independently at home. Suzie Don Leonard, Manager Community and Home Supports at Uniting Goulburn North East says that when it comes to choosing a service provider, it’s important to do your research. ‘Once allocated a Home Care Package, you now have choice over which service provider you want to manage your package, which is a major shift in the way services are delivered and puts you in the driver’s seat,’ says Suzie ‘You can decide what is important to you, and choose the provider that’s best suited to meeting your needs. And if they don’t live up to your expectations, then you are free to look for another provider that can.’ The service provider that’s most likely to deliver the kind of services you need should know your local community intimately, and work collaboratively with local organisations. ‘At Uniting Goulburn North East, our services are local, delivered by local people for people in our local community,’ says Suzie. ‘And we don’t just deliver services with our own staff, we work with other service providers and community organisations to ensure we meet the needs of our clients. We don’t see other providers as competitors, we see them as our partners. That’s what community is all about. ‘We want to give our clients every possible option, so they can make the best choices for them. It also means that people who have a Home Care Package with another provider usually have the option of keeping their current care workers if they move their package to us.’ For Wangaratta couple Marian and Tony, having to rely on help from a community organisation was a new experience. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 18 months ago, Tony became eligible for a Home Care Package. Having been recommended to try Uniting, Marian, who is Tony’s full time carer, got in touch with us and they haven’t looked back since. ‘I worked until the age of 70 so we’ve always been busy. We rely on each other for a lot of things. However, the support we receive from Uniting has taken the pressure off us and our family and friends,’ said Marian. ‘Every Tuesday, Tony goes on a bus trip which takes him somewhere different every fortnight. He just thinks the sun shines out of his bus driver.’ ‘We’ve been very happy with Uniting. The support we have received has been absolutely wonderful, especially from our caseworker. She really knows us personally.’ ‘It’s the workers at Uniting which make it great.’ Get in touch with us to have a chat about Home Care Packages and respite services for carers. We’re here to help guide you through the process, explore multiple options with you, and link you in with the services you need. Call us on 03 5723 8000, or drop into our offices in Wangaratta or Shepparton.