It keeps me independent because I’m able to do the things I need to accomplish in a shorter period of time and then get out and be a part of the things I really want to be a part of.
Karen is talking about the independence that comes from having Visionwest Home Healthcare support workers visit her each day to support her with various personal and household tasks that she’s unable to do herself.
I love handcrafts and writing. In fact, I’m part of an international writing group. Usually, the New Zealand members would gather in person but, at the moment, we’re meeting online at 8am to accommodate the overseas times. Because my support worker is here early to get me up and about, I’m able to be a part of that and spend three hours on a Monday morning doing writing with my friends rather than spending that time and a whole lot more struggling to get up and ready.
Unable to even get in and out of bed on her own, Karen realises that, without her Visionwest support worker, she would literally be bed-bound. She is also unable to do many of her personal cares, and household chores such as preparing meals and doing dishes. “My carers help me with a lot of the tasks most people would call normal stuff.”
A friend who was working for Visionwest suggested Karen contact them when she had to switch from an individualised funding care model.
I used to do individualised funding. That means, I was in charge of finding and hiring my own carers. Eventually, that became too stressful for me and so I contacted Visionwest who now organise everything.
That’s what I like most about Visionwest. It’s that there’s nothing to organise, they take care of everything. I don’t need to phone around trying to find someone to support me because there is always someone rostered on to come and help with whatever I need.
It’s been three years since Karen contacted Visionwest. She says that, in all that time, the support workers have been awesome. “They come in smiling and joking and are always ready for a chat while they go about their work. It’s great to have a good rapport with my carers and feel like I have friends looking out for me.
My family have a number of health issues themselves which means I wouldn’t be able to live with them. So, without Visionwest, I’d be in a rest home. That’s not somewhere I want to be this early in my life.
Care and Independence
Karen loves the flexibility of her Visionwest coordinators and carers. It means, if she finds herself stuck at hospital, or some other eventuality arises, she is able to phone the Visionwest Home Healthcare office and they will adjust the schedule, so she still has help to prepare dinner and climb into bed.
I have enough battles of my own, I don’t need anymore, she says.
For all the “battles” she mentions, Karen lives an amazingly independent life within her own home. She spends time on her writing and her handcrafts – there are examples of both in her home – and focuses, not on her disability, but on the full life she can live despite it.
If something is outside of my control, I don’t worry about it; if I can’t personally deal with it, I don’t dwell on it. Life is for living and, with Visionwest’s help, that’s what I do.
Click here to find out more about Visionwest Home Healthcare.