Helping the Sydney community with relationships, parenting, ageing, disability, pastoral services and mental wellbeing.

Michelle's Story

Practical help and emotional support in the home are vital to people’s physical health and wellbeing as they age. CatholicCare Sydney’s Seniors services are passionate about ensuring people, like Michelle, continue living independently in their homes for as long as possible.

63-year-old local, Michelle, relates the process of getting support at home to being thrown into a cyclone.

“The Aged Care System for me was like being thrown into a cyclone and not knowing what direction to go, what help is available to me and how to access it, ‘Michelle said. “It was really confusing and stressful at the time.”

But thanks to some great guidance from a dear friend and Michelle picked up the phone to CatholicCare Sydney. She says it was the best decision she ever made.

Only a few short years ago Michelle was working full time as a midwife, she loved her job of more than 25 years. The idea of slowing down didn’t even enter her mind.

Then, with the sudden loss of her husband, Michelle experienced significant stress at the time and knew that she needed to take a break.

“Everyone said to me, ‘Michelle, you should go overseas and have a holiday,’ and my response was, ‘I've still got to come back to a mortgage and I still have to work.’ So I decided to save money and stay home, support my loved ones who were experiencing some challenges at the time until I was strong enough to head back to work again.”

One day when out shopping, Michelle recalls an incident that changed her life. “It all started when I tripped on a bit of concrete and fell flat on my face, I didn't break my glasses, I didn't chip a bone, nothing, but after a few weeks I noticed that my sight in one eye had been deteriorating,“ Michelle said. “The doctor confirmed that the bruising from the incident had permanently damaged her eye and she would never regain full sight. “

Michelle’s health continued to deteriorate, she started getting bad back pain, felt tired and constantly lacked energy. After numerous tests, not only did medical experts reveal that Michelle had quite progressive Osteoarthritis, but she was also diagnosed with Small Vessel Disease, affecting the arteries which put pressure on the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

It was not long before Michelle required devices like an assisted walker and crutches to help her get around. Previously simple tasks like putting her shoes on, chopping up vegetables and getting to appointments also became more difficult. She knew it was time to get some support at home.

“I live on my own – I found it quite daunting when you’ve been out and worked all your life and you come home and you don’t have anyone to help you. Everyone thinks because you've been a midwife or you've worked in the medical industry that you know a lot about aged care. I didn’t know where to start to go to get help.”  

It was not until Michelle ran into an old friend that she was able to get some support. That’s when CatholicCare, one of Sydney's largest social services providers, personal approach came in.

“I didn’t know where to go or what was available to me. I was also very frightened, very depressed, isolated and definitely lonely. I felt like I was left out of society, like I was an inconvenience,”Michelle said.

“My dear friend Leanne actually got me organised, she helped me complete the online applications forms, of which I wouldn’t have been able to do myself due to my poor eyesight and she also spoke to My Aged Care on my behalf. When I was assigned a Home Care package, Leanne suggested that I call CatholicCare to come to my home and go through everything with me, which was wonderful. Without her and the lovely people at CatholicCare I wouldn’t have known what to do.”

“For someone that hasn’t got someone to help them, I think it would be their worst nightmare, I didn’t know anything about My Aged Care, it’s a difficult system to navigate and find your way around. CatholicCare have been amazing, every question I needed answered and everything I didn’t know was explained clearly to me”.

Being able to get support services in her home has meant a lot to Michelle. Today she lives life to the fullest. “I wouldn’t want to be taken into a retirement village I want to stay in my own home and feeling comfortable and knowing yes I can get this help and yes I can live here and still be independent,” Michelle said.  

When asked about the support her care worker provides Michelle’s eyes light up; “My care worker is amazing, because I don’t have any grandchildren or have a daughter it’s just like having a daughter, it’s wonderful.”

“The first thing she does is gets me a cup of coffee in the morning, from there she gives me a shower, gets me dressed, helps me make the bed. She does my washing for me, takes me to appointments, gets groceries, helps me prepare meals and makes sure I take my medication. She’ll also ring me every second night to check on me to see if I’m ok. It’s just nice to know that someone cares for me.”

Like Michelle, everyone’s situation is unique. If you are finding, as you get older, that you need some support at home, you’re not alone. CatholicCare’s Home Care Specialists really care and have a good understanding of the My Aged Care System. Call our friendly team today on 13 18 19 or contact us online and we can arrange for one of CatholicCare’s Home Care Specialists to call, or come and visit you at home, to support you through every step of the process.

Next Steps?

Call our friendly team on 13 18 19 or contact us online and we can arrange for one of our Home Care Specialists to come and visit you at home to talk you through the process. Our Home Care Specialists are experts at helping you navigate the My Aged Care system. It doesn't matter where you are in the process, CatholicCare is here to assist you every step of the way.

  • Haven't organised an assessment with My Aged Care?
  • Currently on the waiting list to receive services and want to organise private services or help from a volunteer while you wait?
  • Received your confirmation letter and want to establish your home care plan?
  • Already have a home care package and want to switch to CatholicCare?

If you're looking for answers to any of the above questions call our Client Care Team on 13 18 19, or book a home visit appointment with one of our friendly Home Care Specialists today! We're available 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday.

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