The Care Finder program is commissioned by WSPHN to provide vulnerable older people with the assistance they need. Care Finders can assist community members by talking to My Aged Care on their behalf and arranging an assessment, helping them understand what aged care services are available, and completing forms for them.
I met Ms. P, aged in her late 80s, in my role as a Care Finder. Ms P is a member of a minority CALD group in Sydney and only speaks basic English. Most of her contact is in person, as she finds using the phone difficult. Ms. P has dedicated her life to caring for her middle-aged daughter, who is receiving NDIS support. As well as managing her daughter’s psychosocial disabilities, Mrs P had recently been diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia. As a loving and devoted mother, Ms. P faced numerous challenges while navigating the complex service system to ensure her daughter’s wellbeing and her own. Her dedication to caring for her daughter and her initial stage of dementia made her worry about her ability to coordinate care effectively.
Ms. P was supported to register with My Aged Care. She underwent a Regional Assessment Centre (RAS) assessment and was approved for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). She was also approved for essential services such as transport, domestic assistance, social support individual, and social support group activities. However, the burden of coordinating these services, combined with her language skills, left her feeling overwhelmed and hesitant to get herself the help she needed. She also has a limited income and was very worried about the co-contributions needed for CHSP services.
Recognising her financial hardship, frailty and lower functional capacity, I referred her to the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and Carer Gateway, where she was promised a range of support services, including counselling, coaching, peer support, emergency respite, and Carer Directed Support.
Although Ms. P initially showed little interest in these services, I encouraged her to proceed with the Carer Gateway intake process and sat with her during the intake, ensuring she could express her needs and challenges effectively. Through this process, it was discovered that Ms. P was eligible for support she was previously unaware of, providing her with newfound hope.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Ms. P, Care Finder and the Carer Gateway, an incredible transformation has occurred in Ms. P’s life. She received the news that she was approved for 40 hours of services from Carer Gateway, which should help fill the gap until her ACAT assessment is complete and she can move to a Home Care Package.
This life-changing support includes transport with a carer, cleaning assistance, and respite care. With these services in place, Ms. P can now focus on her wellbeing and ensure a higher quality of care for her daughter.
Moreover, Ms. P has been linked with Sydwest for social group activities, providing her with the companionship she needs and alleviating her feelings of social isolation. She can attend this once a fortnight with the support of available transport from Carer Gateway. This opportunity has not only enhanced her wellbeing but also offered her a sense of belonging to a community that understands her needs.
I am humbled and thrilled to have played a part in Ms. P’s journey towards independence and improved wellbeing. We will continue to empower individuals like Ms. P, ensuring they receive the care they deserve and deserve a life of dignity and happiness. Together, we will create a brighter, more inclusive future for all.
*Name changed to protect the identity of this client
For further information, please read our Care Finder webpage.