Shirley lives well with flexible respite

Shirley, 87, is one busy lady. She looks after her husband of 65 years, Keith, who has dementia. She has nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and tends to their three-bedroom Corinda home, which they’ve shared for 50 years.

“Keith likes to have me close by, which can make it difficult to run errands and get the housework done,” said Shirley. “It’s because of the support we receive from Centacare that we are able to stay living here in our home.”

Through a Home Care Package, Keith and Shirley receive funding for ‘flexible respite’ – a combination of services provided in the home, in the community and/or at a centre.

“Centacare encourages us to choose the services that will help us live our best lives, in the home we love,” said Shirley. “A support worker comes to our house seven days a week to shower Keith and every Tuesday he goes to Centacare Jamboree Heights Social and Community Hub, where he meets up with his mates. I don’t know what they talk about, but that doesn’t matter. He enjoys spending time with likeminded people. He also does a balance class, which he’s very good at. I’m not surprised – he was a champion lifesaver in his day.”

On Wednesdays, Keith enjoys getting out in the community. Centacare picks him up from his house and takes him to lunch or another planned outing or activity.

“It’s good for both of us. It gives me time to attend to the errands I need to as well as space to enjoy the things I love like sewing and gardening.”

“The team at Centacare are wonderful. I recently had a fall and broke my tailbone. They organised an occupational therapist and a walker for me and helped me with the housework, taking on the things I couldn’t do like vacuuming and hanging out the sheets. They also built a ramp to improve our access to the house and when the water heater broke they installed a new one.”

“The care and support we receive is personalised according to our needs – it’s all about keeping us living well here in our own home, which we love.”

If you’re over the age of 65 and could use some help to care for a loved one, find out more about our help to care services.