Many of us depend on people for support at each stage of life. Families, peers, teachers, and mentors often help us to navigate successfully through the world in childhood and as adults.
However, Joanne Fitzgerald, our Director of Aged Care, says that seeking physical support in our older years can be a difficult transition for some people.
“The process of ageing can be a mental health issue in itself, in the sense of coming to terms with not being able to do all the things that you used to,” she says.
Embracing support in older age
Due to mobility changes, such as slower reaction speed or poor balance, Joanne says many people lose their confidence, and in turn stop getting the most out of their days.
“Over time you might become more cautious and that will then start to influence what type of environments you choose to be in,” she explains.
But she insists that our older years can be so much more rewarding when we are assisted in the ways we need to be.
“I've worked in aged care for many, many years and so I’m passionate about supporting our older population to thrive and contribute to community safely. We first need to understand the individual’s story to then make the connections that are going to give that person the ability to do the things that they want to do,” says Joanne.
Considering a home care support package might at first feel like a loss of freedom or independence, but enlisting the right services often has the opposite effect – increased freedom, confidence and community connection. Often, Joanne notes that someone’s Home Support Partner ends up playing an integral part in that person’s life and the increased opportunity for socialising is a great motivator, especially around mealtimes.
“Older people often lose their appetites, in part because eating is such a social thing. Personally, I was one of six and my mum would say that if she was only cooking for herself, sometimes it didn’t feel worth it without that sit down conversation over a meal,” she recalls.
Having help with cooking, shopping, going out for lunch or a coffee with a Home Support Team Member can greatly improve someone’s overall appetite, physical health and emotional wellbeing.
“We’ve got great examples of cultures, like Japan, where ageing isn’t so negative and older people are put on a pedestal,” says Joanne, who wishes more of us could feel empowered and independent as we age. She also notes that when people say they feel ‘old’ it’s usually that they’re feeling isolated or vulnerable."
“When it comes down to it, getting support to achieve the goals we have in life or to make some improvements is a good thing, no matter how old we are.”
To find out more about our aged care support and services, visit our page on Home Care Packages here.