Cooking brings life to Ovi

Ovi, 39, from Heritage Park smiles the warm, infectious smile he’s known for as he carefully unpacks groceries with his support worker Christine.

Ovi and Christine were at Coles this morning. They’ve bought everything they need to make sushi and now they’re back at Centacare’s Aishling Social and Life Skills Hub and ready to start cooking. Ovi is itching to get started. He just loves being in the kitchen.

A motor vehicle accident in his late twenties left Ovi with an acquired brain injury. With severely reduced physical and communication abilities, he lived a very sheltered life, fully dependent on the care of his family.

Feeling isolated and longing to recover the parts of life that he loved, Ovi visited Aishling. Over five years, with the support of his team at Aishling, Ovi has reconnected with life and regained the skills and confidence needed to live independently.

“I really wanted to get my own place and have my own space again,” said Ovi.

“Last year I achieved that goal. I even have a dog now – a poodle cross mini foxi named Sophie. I like being around people and I’ve made good friends at Aishling. I love cooking – especially spaghetti bolognaise and lasagne. Cooking makes me feel alive. I want to live every day to the fullest”.

“The first day he came to our cooking program, I asked him what he could do and he said, ‘nothing’,” said Christine.
“By the end of the day he was slicing up capsicum. I remember the look on his face like it was yesterday. He was delighted. That day he regained something that had been lost.

“I saw how much cooking meant to him and I bought him a slicing machine. He loved it so much he’s bought one for his home.
“Over the years he’s gained a new lease on life. He’s very animated now and his favourite saying is ‘that was awesome!’”

The kitchen is a hive of activity but Ovi is deep in concentration. He retrieves the crumbed chicken from the oven, slices it up and carefully layers it on the rice with lettuce, cucumber and a dollop of Japanese mayonnaise. He rolls it all up in the nori and sets it on a plate, ready to eat.

He smiles at Christine. It is indeed infectious.

Stay for a day or enjoy a longer break
If you want to get a feel for independent living or are looking for a break, Aishling also offer Short Term Accommodation. Our six bedrooms are all comfortably furnished and equipped with private ensuite bathrooms and you’ll enjoy a plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities with around the clock care from our qualified, experienced and caring team.