“Your visit helped Mum tremendously, especially with her frame of mind.”

Two photos of Lucy. Left photo of Lucy before weight loss. Right photo of Lucy after weight loss.

Lucy Keushkerian, 69, of Naremburn, was referred to My Aged Care by community nursing after complications stemming from the slow healing of a lower leg ulcer. She had been receiving care for the issue from her GP since early 2022.

Lucy was feeling isolated, low and deeply concerned about her future. Hampered by weight gain and pain from her leg, she was unable to walk for more than 15 minutes around her garden each day. Lucy had not gone shopping in years and was dependent on her son and husband around the home.

Lucy frequently lapsed into accepting her condition as just “being old” and a consequence of “standing on my feet working for too many years”. More than the physical immobility, Lucy was saddened by her isolation. She relished company, and interaction with the young people in her life, but was unable to get out to maintain or re-establish those connections.

George, her son, had moved back home from overseas due to a change in employment brought about by COVID-19. He was deeply concerned for his mother; as was Lucy’s husband, who was at a loss as to how to motivate her, having tried for many years. He was concerned about her depression and weight troubles.

Repeatedly during the assessment Lucy asserted, “but I’m old.”

She could not see a way out, and felt it was time for her family to look after her as she had done for them her whole adult life.

When meeting with Aspire4Life, Lucy and her family spoke frankly about her weight and immobility as factors impacting her lower limbs, as well as the persistence of her leg ulcer. The underlying issue was that Lucy needed her family for support in every aspect of her life, and since retiring, had lost her social connections that validated her as an individual outside the home.

Lucy’s husband joined the conversation and spoke candidly about his concern for Lucy’s well-being, and while he wanted to support his wife, was concerned what would happen to them both if he felt unwell for even a short period of time.

Lucy related stories of all her previous efforts… and failures. She was fearful of the prospect of managing and living with a wound long-term, as it had not responded to antibiotics and nursing treatment after 9 months. She was also troubled by the prospect of something more serious in future years.

When it came to instilling changes, there was a positive basis from which to start: Lucy was very proud of her daily 15-minute walk around the yard, ringing a bell each circuit she completed, with her family keeping count. Aspire4Life started with the possibility of increasing her walks to twice a day. Lucy was keen, and George shared her enthusiasm.

The Aspire4Life assessor talked about the successes of similar seniors who had lost weight, framing it in terms of how they felt and how they could live their life. We mentioned Instagram personality “Trainwithjoan” who began exercising at 70 years of age and underwent an amazing transformation. Suddenly, the notion of ‘age’ as a barrier disappeared for Lucy.

A team approach was raised. The Northern Sydney Community Health Clinic were contacted, advising them of the issued nursing referral and Lucy’s desire to receive support for her weight

They were asked whether they could activate a team care plan as soon as possible!

A dietician and physiotherapy were recommended, which brought outside connections.

Some time later, Lucy was able to announce: “I’ve lost 10kgs! No one else can tell but I can!”

Lucy stated she has “stopped eating sugar, pasta and bread, and walks twice a day for 15 minutes.” The nurses came every week for a duration of 6 weeks, and now, her wound is gone.

“There is still a mark on my leg, but the sore is not open. My legs are still swollen but I am working on that.”

She added, “My husband is very happy.”

Lucy has seen the dietician and has an appointment in a month’s time. The care team has done an occupational therapy assessment and required referrals for goods, equipment & assistive technology, which were issued at the time of the call. Lucy is looking forward to starting physiotherapy when community nursing gives her clearance.

George has also some lifestyle changes, having struggled with weight gain on and off throughout his life. He stated, “You were quite an inspiration for us all”.

Lucy is full of gratitude for her nursing care, the dietician service that comes to her home and for everyone who had helped her.

Lucy hopes her story will encourage others to feel confident asking for support so that they too can get the help they need without waiting, feeling embarrassed, or that they might be a hindrance. People care, want to be involved, and are driven to find solutions. Everything Aspire4Life does is undertaken with the aim of improving people’s lives and redefining their possibilities and capabilities.

“Everyone has been so lovely,” Lucy added.