Helen spreads her wings in return to independence

Back in her yard and feeding her beloved chooks marks a return to health, happiness, and independence for Aspire4Life client, Helen.

That Helen is even able to spread the grain and her wings through the sheer delight of attending her granddaughter’s wedding is a pinch yourself moment that felt unlikely not so long ago, when the Hunter region grandmother was hospital-bound with a broken Humerus following a fall.

Walking her grandson’s dog, Helen, 77, was spotted by a fellow walker who was sounded out by the dog, as it pulled Helen road-bound in desperation of capturing assistance.

Spending five weeks in Maitland and Cessnock Hospitals with her arm in a sling, Helen recorded a low pulse rate, and was also placed on blood thinning medication due to clots being found in her leg.

“I thought I may have to move into some supported care and have to surrender my backyard chooks,” Helen said.

“I really did not want to go into nursing home care, and that’s always been a bit of a fear for me, and I have a helpful brother, two sons, two lovely daughter in laws and grandchildren, but I didn’t want them to end up having to look after me either.”

However, committing herself to her recovery through working directly with two physiotherapists and undertaking daily exercise, Helen responded to support and advice.

Helen embraced technology for social connection and to maintain her independence

Not only dedicating herself to her recovery, Helen embraced technology, to leave no stone unturned in her quest for maintaining independence and her way of life.

“Some of these sessions were conducted via Skype, which I had never used previously,” Helen said.

“I’m really pleased to have learnt to use Zoom and Skype during isolation to enable me to stay connected to church as I couldn’t drive, and there weren’t any church services on anyway. So, to be able to see everyone and catch up on Zoom was really, really good.

“I was also able to connect with family and meet with my physio to work on exercises to get my arm fully functioning again.

“I have been following through with my exercises every day, and it’s been wonderful… getting into the 21st century has been amazing.”

Aspire4Life has assisted to Helen to continue to rebuild her capacity

In the next step in retaining her independence, Helen said she calls on family from time to time, especially when she couldn’t drive, but tries to do things for herself and not rely on others.

Enjoying a return to the pool for aquarobics classes, Helen has secured a major goal in her recovery and for breathing and weight control. Back to activities like doing the shopping on her own, Helen is also ahead of schedule in her recovery.

Loving the opportunity to spend time in her backyard, she is also feeling far more secure indoors thanks to assistance from Regional Assessment Service Assessor (RAS), Ros, and modifications around the home including shower and toilet rails, and steps into the house following recommendations from her occupational therapist.

Helen Is also able to do pick ups from Meals On Wheels, but credits their deliveries as a big part of her ability to remain at home when she couldn’t shop or cook.

“Spending five weeks in the hospital, I had some people even passed away in my ward… you get to know people quite well and when I came home it was a real psychological shock,” Helen said.

“But Meals on Wheels and Community Care transport have both been great, and Ros has been really good for me. To have the railings put in, I was absolutely stoked. The workmanship is truly beautiful and having these sorts of things to keep me at home is such a plus.

“The arm is feeling really good; it’s disappointing I’m only expected to gain 90% recovery, but this has all made such an amazing change in my outlook. I take a walking stick into the chook pen now and getting back to thinking of ways to get them moving and laying has been really beautiful.”
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