Alexandra's story

Alexandra is a gentle and proud 85 year old woman who lives with her daughter Emily. Emily is married and has opted not to return to work full time so that she can care for her mother.  She also has a 10 year old daughter of her own – Emily wouldn’t dream of putting her mother in a nursing home, it’s just not “part of her culture”. Alexandra was born in Greece and immigrated to Australia as a young girl with her family.  Even though Emily was born in Australia, she still very much respects the ways of the Greek culture – family always takes care of family.

Alexandra is a gentle and proud 85 year old woman who lives with her daughter Emily. Emily is married and has opted not to return to work full time so that she can care for her mother.  She also has a 10 year old daughter of her own – Emily wouldn’t dream of putting her mother in a nursing home, it’s just not “part of her culture”. Alexandra was born in Greece and immigrated to Australia as a young girl with her family.  Even though Emily was born in Australia, she still very much respects the ways of the Greek culture – family always takes care of family. 

Emily feels a strong sense of responsibility to her mother.  Her mother was always there for her when she was growing up and their bond is very strong. Emily has always assumed the primary caregiver role – her only brother Robert lives interstate, has a young family and a very stressful career.

Alexandra and Emily first came to us five years ago. Alexandra was on a self directed care plan – it was very important for her at that time to have a sense of control over her day to day activities, lifestyle and independence.  Continuity of care was also very important to her and we were able to work with them both to find the right respite support worker that both Alexandra and Emily felt connected to and comfortable with. As you can suspect, most families who engage our support know that the need for respite care and support will often escalate over time and may be required for years.  That is why it is so very important to ensure that the “fit” is right between the respite support worker, you and your loved one.

When Alexandra first came to us she was relatively mobile. She was a breast cancer survivor who had been diagnosed with dementia. Unfortunately, due to some visual problems (glaucoma), she had taken a terrible fall and needed full time help each day with bathing, grooming, meals and attend medical appointments. She still enjoyed getting out in the community once a week to visit with friends but Emily was struggling to cope with the physical and emotional demands of being the primary caregiver and also managing the home and a child of her own.  Initially Sequel provided personal care support for 3 hours each week to help Emily to care for her mother. Occasionally, we would also stay with Alexandra for an afternoon so that Emily could go out, meet with friends and attend to personal appointments or parent teacher meetings.

Over the past five years, Alexandra’s health has deteriorated. She is now bedridden, prone to bedsores, incontinent and unresponsive. Now more than ever, Emily requires regular respite so that she can continue to provide the best care that she can for her mother. Because of the rigorous day to day demands, Emily finds it helpful to have 2 afternoons off each week so that she can get out of the house, rest and rejuvenate.  Emily relies on the fact that the same support worker that Alexandra loves and feels comfortable with can be with her during those times.  Alexandra looks forward to her visits and Emily feels and enormous sense of relief and confidence to really take that time off for herself and come back feeling refreshed and ready to go.

... Read More

Respite care

Home – it’s where your loved one really wants to be

She tucked you in at night, read your favorite stories over and over, and taught you how to tie your shoelaces, cooked your favorite meals and held your hand when you were scared or not feeling well. She was always there for you when you needed her most. You never questioned it, and you never needed to ask. She just knew she needed to be there for you. And you knew that she would always be there when you needed her the most.

Now she needs you and you want to be there for her in the same way that she was always there for you. Whether you’re caring for your mother, your father, both parents, and your partner, we’re here to help you. Everyone knows there’s no place like home – we started Sequel Home Based Care to help families like yours get the help you need to keep your loved one in the safe and familiar surrounds of the family home.

We’re here to help you address your concerns and provide the respite assistance you need to take care of your loved one at home. Whether it’s companionship for your loved one while you’re out, transport to medical appointments or medication prompts, we can take a load off your shoulders so that you can get the break you need to enjoy the time you do have with your loved one even more.

What is respite care and how can you benefit from it?

Are you currently caring for a loved one at home – a parent, child or life-long partner? Being a personal caregiver to a loved one who requires high level (or round-the-clock) support can often leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. It is too easy (and tempting) to devote all of your energy and time to your loved one and ignore your own health and needs in the process.

To continue to provide the best personal care that you can, it is important for you to take breaks from your caring role and have some time-out to take care of yourself and do the things that you enjoy.

Here’s the problem – it is too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that no one else can do the job better that you. You know your loved one better than anyone else and you are available to meet their needs around the clock, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. Not being there for them when they need you, is usually not an option that you have ever entertained or even considered.

But you need and deserve a break – not only for your own well-being, but also for the benefit of your loved one. Rejuvenation resulting from a change of scenery (because you have secured competent and compassionate respite care in your absence) means that your loved one is always receiving the best care possible and that you are rested enough to resume duties when you return.

With in home respite care, a trusted Sequel Support Worker can keep your loved one socially engaged at home, and also ensure their hygiene, physical, emotional and safety needs are met. We provide compassionate companionship and care for your loved one, empowering you to enjoy your respite period and return feeling rested and rejuvenated.

We will work closely with you to develop a respite care plan that is tailored to meet your individual needs and interests. We always conduct a comprehensive profile of your loved one to ensure the best possible respite care worker is matched to your loved one.

Respite care can be provided in your home or in a variety of community settings. The following are just a few of the Respite care services that Sequel Home Based Care offers:

  • Social events and visits with friends
  • Shopping and errands
  • Personal correspondence and memoirs
  • Medication prompts and reminders
  • Scrapbooking
  • Home projects
  • Safety and security
  • Overnight or weekend respite
  • Transportation and appointments.

Right now, there are approximately 2.6 million carers who provided assistance to those who needed help because of disability or old age. 29% of these primary carers are aged 60 years and over and over 67% are women. Already, 44% of primary carers have used formal respite care services and about 43% of those report they feel they need they need more respite care than they currently receive. 55% of primary carers of children (aged less than 15 years) with disabilities currently use respite care services.

Caring for your loved one is a valuable and rewarding role. When the need is short term, it does not usually cause undue stress. However, when it is full time and long term, it can become a demanding, all absorbing and stressful role. When this happens to you, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you feel fatigued and struggle to get through each day?
  • Have you neglected to take time out or have a holiday to rest and rejuvenate?
  • Is there a special event in the near future that you need to attend but cannot take your loved one with you?
  • Is your relationship with your loved one becoming strained?
  • Do you sometimes feel that your needs are overlooked or neglected?
  • Has it been months since you got out of the house to socialise with friends, done something special for yourself or spent quality time with your other family members?

If you have answered yes to one or more of the above questions, we can definitely help. The most valuable benefit of respite care is that you, the primary caregiver, get the break you need to provide the best care that you can when you return to your loved one. And while you are on your break (whether short term for a couple of hours or longer term while you take a holiday), you can feel confident that your loved one is in safe, experienced and caring hands. We provide peace of mind so that you can have a restful and stress-free break without the need to be concerned over the well-being of your loved one.

Most primary caregivers tell us how difficult it was to first put their hand up and ask for support. However, once they received the support they needed, they all express what a profound difference it has made to their quality of life, emotional outlook and the relationship they have with their loved one.

Will it help the person that I care for?

Most of our clients tell us that their loved ones really appreciate the fact that they now have a wider social life and can enjoy meeting and talking to other people about their life and experiences. It gives them a real sense of connection and vitality to relate to (and bond) with other people outside their core family.  On some level, it is also a relief to most that their primary caregiver (loved one) is able to get out of the home, work, relax, connect with friends or have a short vacation.

What is Consumer Directed Respite Care?

There are also a limited number of Consumer Directed Respite Care (CDRC) packages under the National Respite for Carers Program. The CDRC affords you a break from your caring role while also giving you more control (and flexibility) over the design and delivery of respite services provided to you and the person you care for. This gives you choices about:

  • the types of respite services you receive
  • how they are delivered
  • when they are delivered, and
  • by whom.

To enquire about CDRC, contact us at 9499 1200.

What if the person I care for has just been discharged from hospital?

If the person you care for has just been discharged from hospital, and requires more help than usual, then they may benefit from transitional respite care.

Transitional care provides short-term care that is focused on particular therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutritional support, podiatry, or counselling. This transitional care can help the person you care for become as independent as they can be after they’ve been in hospital, and provides extra support while you (and they) decide on what level of care is best for them in the longer term.

How do I arrange respite services?

For most types of respite services, you and the person you care for can simply contact us at 9499 1200 and speak to us about the type of help you need. We will work with you to conduct a thorough assessment of your situation and help you determine what’s best for you and the person that you care for.

Alleviating common concerns

You may currently believe that you should be able to “do it all.” Seeking help does not make you a failure or a bad person. It’s important to remember that respite services benefit your loved one as well as yourself.

It can be scary at first to leave your loved one in the care of someone else. Be upfront, open and honest with your respite support worker. Establish a relationship with him/her and learn from each other. If necessary, write down the specific tasks you think the respite support worker could be responsible for and assist him/her to really get to know your loved one.

If you can, provide a written history of your loved one to the care giver – we can work with you to establish this list (which could even include photographs, stories and memories that are important reference for the aide when you are not available. When completed, it provides vital information about your loved one – personality, habits, level of cognition, daily routine, communication styles, family, mobility, hobbies, likes and dislikes, previous occupation etc. Please ask us if you would like us to give you a free guideline for providing a helpful and comprehensive reference for your respite support worker.

Allow some time for your loved one to prepare for and adjust to their new support worker. Provide as much information as you can to give them comfort and reassurance.

When you are ready to take a break (for an hour, a day, a week or longer) and need to find the perfect respite care provider, call us on 9499 1200 or submit a written request by following the link to our contact us webpage to obtain a FREE, no obligation consultation.