Life changing dementia support for Elizabeth and John

A successful economist and business owner, John was a happy and easy-going man who was about to renovate his 4-bedroom Queenslander, when life was turned upside down.

A perioperative stroke left the otherwise healthy father of seven children in need of full-time care.

“After six months in hospital, his treating team suggested he move into residential care,” said his wife, Elizabeth.

“I took a leave of absence from work to care for him at home but eventually I needed to return. An Occupational Therapist told me about extra support available for carers of people with dementia and neurodegenerative conditions.

“Someone from Centacare called me the next day and explained all the services John could access, with Queensland Health Dementia Respite (QHDR) funding.

“We talked about the type of services that would be most helpful in assisting me to return to work. John now has a couple of regular support workers who support him Monday through to Friday. They are lovely people and I’ve been able to return to work with the peace of mind that John feels safe, relaxed and cared for in the way that he’s used to.”

(L-R) Elizabeth, support worker Ryan and John at Elizabeth and John’s Auchenflower home

Every morning at 8.30am, support workers Ryan or Lito assist John with showering and dressing and getting ready for the day.

They take the short drive from John’s Auchenflower home to Centacare’s Enoggera Social Community Hub, where John meets up with his friends, enjoys a meal and engages in activities recommended by his speech therapist and physiotherapist. This might include a balance class, a card game, getting out and about on a bus trip or a range of other enriching experiences.

Elizabeth arrives home from work at 4.30pm and finds John has also arrived home from the Hub. Ryan has settled him on the sofa with a cup of tea and the three of them chat about their days before Ryan finishes his shift and heads off.

The news is on, which is John’s choice – Ryan and Elizabeth joke that they would rather watch Antique Roadshow.

The QHDR program has allowed John and Elizabeth to continue their life together, in their own home and community.

“This home is very important to us,” said Elizabeth. “We moved here in the 1970s and raised our children here. Equally important is the opportunity for John to exercise his independence and forge a life outside of home. The hub gives him that. He has some great friends there and always comes home in good spirits.”

Who is eligible?

Centacare has Queensland Health Dementia Respite (QHDR) funding available to support you to work, volunteer, study, or care for others if you care for:

– an older person with dementia
– a person with younger onset dementia or
– someone who has another neurodegenerative condition such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Huntington’s disease.

You do not have to live with the person you care for to qualify for QHDR funding, and you don’t need a My Aged Care referral to access the service.

The support you receive through QHDR can be in addition to what you receive through other programs including your Commonwealth Home Support or Home Care Package.

To be eligible, carers must work, study, volunteer or care for others (ie dependants under 18 years).

Extra support is available

While caring for someone you love who has dementia can be rewarding, it can also be tough going, impacting your social connections, physical and mental health. We can support you in your caring role, and give you a break, confident that the person you love is in an environment where they feel comfortable, supported by someone who cares about them.

The application process for QHDR is straightforward and we can help you to access more support, quickly.

Please call your Service Leader or our call centre on 1300 236 822 to find out more.