21 Ways to Use Your Home Care Package to Stay Socially Connected - Q&A Home Care Coordinators Maria and Leonie

Maria and Leonie are both St Louis Home Care Coordinators that have worked in aged care for many years. The aim of the care coordinator is to help you make the most of your home care package so that you feel supported, cared for and safe at home. This Q&A discusses how we help people incorporate social connection into their home care packages.

With the help of a care coordinator, your home care package can be customised to provide you with the support and care you need. Many elderly Australians are choosing to stay at home for longer. In working with a care coordinator, you can draw on their knowledge, expertise and experience to ensure your home care package is everything you need it to be. A coordinator can help you find simple or complex solutions to your care and lifestyle needs.

Q – In your words, how do you describe your role at St Louis?

We are the main point of contact for the client, our aim is to form a partnership between the client, their family and everyone else involved in their care. During the assessment interview it is an opportunity to build rapport and get to know our clients, we try to find out as much as we can about their life, their history, what they love and enjoy, and where they may need help and what services they would like. This is the start of a trusting care relationship where we help you get more of the care you want and to meet your home care needs. Home care packages are not one-size-fits-all, they are customised to each person’s needs. We ask a lot of questions during our initial assessment and will also try to include family members where we can, from this we tailor an individualised care and service package that has the ideal services for them. Half our job is coordination and the other half is communication between everyone involved in the care of our client.

Q - Do people get involved in social programs enough?

One size does not fit all, some people want more than others, depends on their circumstances. Social connection does not have to be out of the home, for some of our clients it is also inside the home during our visits and what we do when we are there.

Q – How do your clients use their home care package to stay socially connected?

As there are many answers to that question how about we give you 21 examples we’ve had some experience with. The great thing about St Louis Home Care is our care solutions are always about the client and their needs.

  1. We had a gentleman who loved music and one of our carers used to be a music teacher so we teamed them up. When she visits she plays music from old musicals and they sing together.
  2. One of our clients likes to go out to cafes and restaurants, she is very outgoing and this makes her happy so she uses quite a bit of her home care package on these outings.
  3. Another client enjoys massage sessions so we arrange a weekly therapeutic massage session – she loves it!
  4. We have a lady who enjoys a weekly expedition to West Lakes shopping mall. A carer will go with her while she does her shopping for groceries and other things, and although she prefers the carer not to be with her the entire time, it gives her confidence and assurance that there is someone to look out for if she needs it.
  5. We take one of our clients to the beach every week for a walk in the fresh air and they return home invigorated.
  6. One of our clients has MS and is wary of travelling out of her home and prefers to stay indoors. Our carer visits and they do plenty of things together at home – cooking, gardening and cleaning or whatever might be needed on the day.
  7. A more active client decided he wanted to get stronger and healthier so he uses part of his home care package to go to the gym during the week. This makes him fitter and provides the social connection he enjoys.
  8. Another client was not using their package as much as they could, so we discussed how he would like to be better supported. He said he loves a drive through the Adelaide Hills so that’s what we do. He drives and we go with him and he appreciates the added assurance of having an approved driver/carer in the car with him. We go for a lovely drive for a couple of hours every week.
  9. The needs of dementia patients are more specific. One of our clients who has dementia enjoys a drive as well, so we take her driving and she loves staring out the window at the passers-by. For her this is a very enjoyable experience.
  10. Another client with dementia loved fishing, so we organise the fishing equipment – bait and rods, and take him for regular fishing trips.
  11. One of our clients who did not have a car wanted to regularly visit her sister who lives in a nursing home. Taking public transport was not a viable option so we have incorporated these weekly visit to her sister in her home care package and will drive her there and home.
  12. Home care packages include keeping fit and we have a client who was starting to stumble and fall over more than she used to. We arranged for her to attend strengthening classes every week and this achieved two things – it provided the social contact and made her stronger.
  13. We have some movie buffs too and sometimes they just want us to take them to a movie at the cinema, and then we might go for a coffee afterwards.
  14. A married couple who wanted to introduce something new into their life to spice up their routine, spent some time brainstorming ideas. They decided they wanted to help children with reading. We called some of the schools in their local area and one of them loved the idea. They now attend this school twice a week to listen to children read.
  15. We have a chap who has to deal with dementia, Parkinsons and epilepsy. Every week we take him to his dementia respite group where he meets with others experiencing the same and they have various activities. He would not be able to do this without his home care package.
  16. We take our clients to Men’s Sheds which is a community initiative bringing together groups of men to catch up about blokey things.
  17. One of our clients who does not have good eyesight, likes to go to the local Greek coffee club for men, so we take him there and sit with him while he sips his coffee, catches up with friends and plays a few card games.
  18. A client who is almost blind, loves bowling. We take him to a blind-assisted bowling club and he absolutely loves this.
  19. When someone has lost a friend that they would do something with on a weekly basis, they can replace this weekly activity with a Carer – we do this for many clients.
  20. We take one of our clients to her aqua aerobics class every week.
  21. We have a group of clients involved in a craft circle who are creating knitted and crochet blankets that will be donated for charity, we make sure they get to their craft circle every week.

There are many ways to use your home care package to stay socially connected. For us it is very fulfilling because we are always suggesting and trying new things based on the care needs of our clients.

At St Louis, we embrace Consumer Directed Care (CDC)

When we see the benefits of the care and social experiences to our clients, we know our program is successful. We see our clients with a sense of fulfilment, reconnection, happiness and it makes us feel great. The client also sees the importance of care coordination and how it makes a difference to what they get from their care package as opposed to managing this themselves.

We’ve had a lot of our clients very keen to include some care and social activities based on their life experiences after discussions with their care coordinators, this is what makes our home care package so successful, they embrace consumer directed care.

Let St Louis help you create the ideal home care package so that you do more of the things you love and stay socially connected. Call St Louis Home Care Adelaide on 08 8332 0950 or St Louis Home Care Victor Harbor on (08) 8552 1481.

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