When the little things are the big things: Allan’s independence story

“Allan is a very independent man and likes to manage as many tasks as he can by himself,” shares Paul Wellings, the Aspire4Life Home Support Assessor who worked with Allan.
“He was referred to My Aged Care by his doctor to arrange some support with domestic assistance – specifically the shower. Due to some reduced range of movement, that was the only thing he was having trouble with.” However – what may seem simple is actually a more complex issue, especially for an individual that is set on being independent. “Allan was concerned that, if support was put in place for this one task, it would take away his independence for other tasks,” explains Paul. This is how Aspire4Life helped Allan to get the best possible outcome for himself, and one that his family would also be happy with.

The snowball effect

Paul has a background as a paramedic, and has worked with elderly people for many years. He says Allan’s concerns were not uncommon, and that he supports independence where it is safe to continue. “Most people want to do as much as they can for as long as they can,” explains Paul. “It keeps them moving, ensures that they are caring for the home where they love to live.”
As a male in a female-dominated industry, Paul also enjoys connecting with other men to support them, especially when it comes to domestic tasks.
“In that age group, it’s not uncommon that a bloke might lose his partner, and he’s never done housework before,” Paul says. “They’re unsure on how to clean the house, and we can talk about what might be best suited to them and their ability.” In this case, Paul heard Allan’s concerns that putting in a service might have too much of an impact on his life and independent nature. “I had a conversation with Allan, and found out that he has a granddaughter who works as an Occupational Therapist,” Paul adds.

“I encouraged him to talk to her, and said that she may be able to make some recommendations on products or equipment so that Allan could manage it himself.”
“If we just did it for him, it would not be as positive of an outcome. And Allan just said – “Well, that’s a good idea!”

Outcomes for all

It was a win-win situation; Allan was able to access professional advice, connect positively with his granddaughter and find the best outcome for his shower to remain clean.
Paul supported Allan throughout the process, checking in after a two month period to re-assess Allan’s ability to manage with his shower cleaning.
“Allan was rapt after his reablement period,” Paul says. “He is now able to fully manage his cleaning, having arranged a specific mop and cleaning product, and no longer needs support from us.” With Paul’s background, he is extremely passionate about safety for individuals, and stories like this – where someone can maintain looking after themselves in their own homes, while still keeping their wellbeing top of mind – are ideal. “I was so happy that he got professional advice,” Paul confirms. “As we age, we keep thinking we’re still 25 years old – but we’re not – and the ramifications can be unfortunate for some.”
Happily, not for Allan, for whom a small issue was representative of so many bigger things. “Allan stated to me – ‘I have no problems now whatsoever and am able to clean my shower fully, with nil issues.’ Which is just great to hear.” The Aspire4Life team is available in many regions across Australia for support. Find out more here.