When Gail started a Short-Term Restorative Care program, she wasn’t expecting to feel the best she had in 30 years, but that’s what happened.
68-year-old Gail has lived with spinal issues for 40 years, but the pain got noticeably worse over the last year. That’s when she spoke to integratedliving and started an eight-week Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) program to help improve her discomfort and independence.
Gail wanted to regain her independence around her home, and alleviate her growing reliance on partner Barry for small things she’d previously been able to do herself.
“Now I’m living to be a partner again,” Gail said. “I’m not putting everything on to my partner. I can do more myself now. It’s given me more independence and everything.
“Now, I can do it myself because it’s a benchtop oven, and I can do it from start to finish of the meal. I can cook again, which I loved doing before, but because I was living through the pain, I hadn’t been able to.”
Gail, who lives in New South Wales, said several simple but effective changes in the kitchen have made a world of difference. These include several small utensils, such as special knives and battery-operated bottle, jar and can openers. Using these has meant Gail can do many of the little things she’d had to ask Barry to do for her in recent years.
Using aged care funding through the STRC program, Gail got to see an exercise physiologist, dietitian and occupational therapist.
“It changed my thinking being with these people because they showed you how to look at things differently," Gail said. "And how to move differently with the exercise physiologist. They provided me with an air physio, which has helped my lungs and my breathing’s a lot better.
“They made steps in the garage so it’s easier for me to access now. Instead of one giant step, they’ve made two smaller steps.”
Another addition Gail has experienced from the program is an electric back rest in bed so Gail is now able to get up through the night without asking Barry to help her.
“You know, those little things all add up so it’s like you regain your self worth and are able to be a partner again," Gail said. "And Barry loved it. He said, ‘I can’t believe it’. Obviously he’s happy because he can go off gardening and not get called inside 20 times.”
Gail said the sessions with Exercise Physiologist Demi have been very helpful for managing her chronic pain.
“I wasn’t going very far walking because of my issues," Gail said. "The exercise physiologist showed me different ways to manage certain household things. Like how to fold the washing without straining my back. Now I can get out and go for a beautiful walk in the sun and I’m not bent over in pain. It’s fabulous.”
Gail also credits guidance from Occupational Therapist Sam, including getting a shower seat, with alleviating more pain.
“Sam said I could sit down and shower myself and it doesn’t take much energy. It was amazing the difference it made. It takes a lot of energy even to stand when you’re in pain. That’s what people don’t realise. Nothing was too much trouble, and it was just a wonderful experience.” Gail said.
Gail’s partner Barry, agrees. “It’s been quite an excellent intervention into our lives,” Barry said. “Because before that, it’s difficult to cover all bases, especially when your partner’s not all that well.
“There’s more purpose in what she does because she’s got people who can support her. It just gives you a peace of mind as well, and it all helps psychologically. It’s a big boost. Overall, it’s just a great thing.” Barry said.
integratedliving's Short-Term Restorative Care programs are helping people all over the country, including Mandy in Tasmania. Mandy said: “I am a much happier person than I used to be knowing I can walk around and can get help if I need it. A very big thank you. If I hadn’t had you lot to help me I would not be in the place I am today.”
More from Mandy after her second STRC program: “I have more confidence with walking, with talking to people, and wanting to mix with people. I have a will to get out and do things instead of just sitting and sulking. I am looking forward to getting out and about and seeing people….all thanks to integratedliving.”
Did you know you can access two STRC eight-week programs in a year? To find out more, phone 1300 782 896.
Read more on how STRC has helped our clients
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