Right Respite Care Changes Warren’s World

Warren is standing next to his wife Hilary who is seated on their lounge next to Shine Support Worker Erin

Warren (79) and Hilary (78) are a retired couple who live in City Beach. Warren has a complex caring role for wife Hilary and he contacted the ILC WA’s Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre (CRCC) service after discussing his situation with a family friend.

The CRCC was able to assist Warren with understanding the supports that are available to help him care for his wife with dementia and frailty. To add to the complexity of the situation, Hilary had fallen several times recently, which lowered her confidence at leaving the home or being left on her own if Warren needed to run errands or attend his own appointments. He was becoming increasingly consumed by his caring role. 

Care giving for people with dementia is usually long term, home based and there is little respite, which can significantly impact on the carer’s health and wellbeing.

After speaking with one of the ILC’s CRCC carer specialists Warren was eligible to access a Consumer Directed Respite Package (CDRC).

CDRC is funded by the Australian Government and provides people with complex caring roles with funding to the value of $4200 per financial year. The package enables carers greater say, flexibility, and more control over the design and delivery of respite supports they access.   

Together we designed support that was tailored specifically to his and Hilary’s needs. Hilary loves playing scrabble, so to ensure the success of respite a worker with similar interests was arranged through Shine Community Services, initially as a trial.   

Over a short period of time, Warren, Hilary and the respite worker Erin, worked together to ensure a safe and supportive environment that provided Warren with time to visit family and friends and take some much needed time out, and provided Hilary with social connection and has now led to Hilary agreeing to accompany Erin to visit Shine Community Service’s Reablement Centre in Cottesloe for a morning of social activities such as classes and outings.

Warren has noticed a significant improvement in Hilary’s wellbeing since Erin has been visiting her: 

“I’m very pleased with all the help we have received from the ILC WA (CRCC) and the support that has been provided by Erin from Shine.

“Hilary loves to play scrabble so she looks forward to Erin’s visits when they can have a game together.

“For Hilary I’m joyous that she has been able to enjoy some social interaction and activities at Shine’s Reablement Centre. I feel really grateful that getting the right help has improved her quality of life.

“Finding the right support with a specialised focus for people with dementia can be a bit   like a game of ‘Where’s Wally’ and getting the right respite care has changed my world:
“It’s like when you have a plant that’s beginning to wither and then you give it a bit of water and it revives. That’s how I feel.”

Shine Community Services Support Worker Erin Harrison has worked at Shine since 2018, and works with many different elderly clients with complex health challenges. She sees this form of carer respite as an important service for all family members:

“I think providing the respite service is so important, and it has been particularly beneficial in the Marsh’s case.

“Often when a spouse becomes a carer, there can be quite a bit of anxiety in leaving the other partner alone.

“This type of fortnightly respite – when I come and spend time with Hilary playing scrabble or visiting the Shine Enablement Centre – gives Hilary some different social interactions Warren a break to run errands and catch up with other people.

“Some people might not be aware that these are the kind of services they can have access to and that they can lead to more social activities and additional benefits to the client.”

If you are caring for a family member or friend at home and need some guidance and support with tailoring respite to your specific needs, call us at the Commonwealth Respite Carelink Centre North Metro on 1800 052 222 or email: comcarelink@ilc.com.au

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