Awareness of programs – With all these programs going on, you’d think I would be at least a little aware of them. But the fact is, before we lived through our frustratingly fast learning curve last fall I was only vaguely aware of homecare services, and associated them entirely with care of the elderly. But there are so many other situations in which some form of home care help is needed – think of families with a disabled child, or young people who have been in a disabling accident. Homecare is actually widespread and vital,
It seems to me then, that someone should have outlined what’s available to me when I spent two months in a rehabilitation program at Parkwood Institute. What should I expect when I got home, what decisions should I expect to have to make. Who would be coming to see us. Even after we got home, an overview of what was to come would have been helpful. I’m sure we would both have felt less stress if we had known what to expect.
Being pro-active and asking questions – As people started arriving and the learning curve turned up, we knew we had to ask lots of questions and be clear about what choices we were being given in order to make good decisions. Very quickly we became pro-active, ready with our questions and making calls to agencies to sort things out.
Although I only lost my cool once, I can see that people who weren’t prepared to be assertive might get lost in the complex mix of services available. Luckily Mrs. F.G., as a retired nurse, understands what is needed. That has certainly made it easier the last 3+ months.
Service Deliverers – Just to keep the picture complete I should point out that there are actually three different organizations that deliver these services, as a loyal local blog reader pointed out to me. The three are the Red Cross, the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses), and Care Partners. The first two are over 100 years old; the third is a much more recently formed organization. However only the last two operate in our region. Our experience is entirely with Care Partners.
Stress and decisions – Needless to say our first months home have been very busy, full of meeting new people and trying to keep them straight. The many decisions we have had to make have admittedly been a little stressful. Just the multiple appointments which occupied our time each day were enough to leave us feeling overwhelmed. In comparison, a glance at our January calendar, with numerous empty days, is a huge relief. I think we’re reaching the point where life is at least a little balanced.
Counselling – One topic that I’ve thought of is the benefit of counselling. In my case for example, my life has been totally changed by the sudden onslaught of a major disability. I think I’d be justified in being a little upset. I’m not actually thinking of this personally, but I would be very surprised if some people in a similar position were not emotionally stressed and could not benefit from counselling – even some gentle conversation for reassurance.
And yet, among the 25 or so different people we have had contact with, not a single one has mentioned the availability of counselling. This is a gap in all these programs that I think should be addressed.