Happy mop lady gets a clean run at independence

A proud member of the Port Macquarie Dachshund Group, Heather, 66, and her furry friends Albert, Dudley and Beatrice are back at it after overcoming isolation due to injury.

“We went back for the first time in three or four months recently,” Heather said.

“It’s my social outing, so I really missed it.”

After enjoying her time since relocating to the Port Macquarie region through family links around three years ago from Gulgong, Heather’s love of spending time at the beach and with the group had come to a halt, due to back issues and pain. Feeling lonely and isolated, Heather, who was a potter in her “younger years”, was using a desk chair to move around the house, while dealing with concerns over her health and ability to keep the house clean to the standards she had set.

However, Heather’s return to the Dachshund Group – which enjoys casual walks, visits to aged care homes and monthly organised meet-ups – is reflective of the strides Heather has made since her Regional Assessment Service (RAS) on 21 January.

Lending an ear, assessor Jan worked with Heather to come up with ways to access support to get her back to where she wanted to be.

Organising support along with a review with a dietician, Heather began exercises which assisted her mobility.

“I’ve got fibromyalgia and arthritis, and pain everywhere,” Heather said.

“My orthopaedic surgeon said I was walking to protect my knees, which was contributing to the pain, so I picked up a few exercises and started doing them and working hard.”

Through a Reablement Plan organised with Jan, Heather was also able to access a special mop, which assisted with regaining her independence.

“My bathroom had, by my cleaning standards, gotten pretty bad, but I’ve now used the spin mop a couple of times and it’s definitely made it easy,” Heather said. Now able to walk short distances, Heather is over the moon to be back with the Dachshund Group and is making plans to have ongoing walks along the beach. Also working on a health plan with a dietician as part of the plan, Heather is looking forward to a bright future.

“I’ve been dying to get down to the beach and starting to go for walks again is really exciting, and not just for the dachshunds,” Heather said.

“Going to the aged care home once a week, it’s really lovely to see the reaction of some people, and we’re just starting to organise going to a school where the students can dress the dachshunds up and read to them.

“It’s great to participate and interact with people again.”