Home Care Consumer             

I’m Ella and I’m in my 70’s. I live in a unit on the northside of Brisbane. Before retiring I worked for the Queensland Government supporting people to access government programs, then I worked part-time at my local PCYC.

I was also a COTA Queensland volunteer community peer navigator on the Brisbane North PHN funded wellbeing program, where I supported older people in the community to access relevant services and supports, to enable them to live well and stay connected. Now, I receive help via a homecare package with domestic and household related tasks like cleaning and making the bed. (a lot of older people are now getting help with making the bed!)

I’m familiar with technology, so I use an App on my mobile to check when my support worker is visiting. One of my support workers told me they often get up at 5am to check their schedule, because it could change last minute if someone phones in sick.

My support workers often travel a distance to visit me (up to 60 kilometres). They can come from as far away as Woodford and Caboolture. I don’t know why providers don’t send home care support workers who are more local. I wonder whether it’s because they’re worried people will keep them talking if they run into them at the local shops? If I saw them, I’d simply say hello.

I don’t always have the same person visit every week. There’s one lady I’ve gotten to know, she’s very important to me. She understands my needs and after she’s finished cleaning, she’ll often stop and have coffee and a chat. She asks me about my life, and I ask about hers, and she lets me know when she needs to leave for her next appointment.

I think it’s important for homecare support workers (and people in general) to understand things from the perspective of older people. I recently bought a new bed and when I got it home, the mattress was so high, I’ll probably need a step ladder one day to get into bed!

I negotiated with my package provider to have the same person attend every week, but they could only offer the 7am timeslot. It’s a little early but I accepted it, so I could have my regular person. There’s been some challenges, sometimes they arrive at 8.30am, or 4.30pm, and it’s not my regular person. One day I told them to not bother because it was too late.

Most of my support workers are great, but my preference is to have the same person each week, to build up that trust and relationship.