On a sunny day, Que loves nothing better than to spend time out in nature with his carer, Thuy.
The pair often go for leisurely walks, laughing and chatting with each other as they stroll amongst the greenery of Sydney’s suburban south west. “Being at home can be boring sometimes, so I’m always happy when Thuy arrives, as I can chat with her about anything,” says Que. Thuy agrees. “Walking isn’t just about the exercise; it’s also about companionship,” she says. “We have a good chat when we’re out. I ask him questions about his life, and he tells me stories about his family.”
Family has always played a big role in Que’s life. In 1982, the father-of-four migrated to Australia from Vietnam to care for his grandchildren and help his son run a bakery, eventually sponsoring his cherished wife, Mich, to migrate to Australia as well.
Things changed, though,as Que grew older and became frail. He became the one who needed care, especially as his mobility declined. Mich was dedicated to looking after her husband, but she faced significant challenges as she does not drive or speak English. She was also anxious about leaving Que alone. “I felt like I couldn’t even go to the shops, as I was always worried about something happening to him while I was out of the house.” she says. “That’s when I knew we really needed help.”
Fortunately Que and Mich’s next-door neighbour had a solution. He suggested they try reaching out to HomeCaring for support.
The couple got in touch with a HomeCaring Care Advisor who not only understood the difficulties Que was facing, but could speak to them in Vietnamese. She connected Que and Mich to Lizzie, a HomeCaring Case Manager. “Because they can’t speak English. they needed someone who understood the government Home Care Package program, and could advocate for them as a client,” says Lizzie, who is fluent in Vietnamese and English.
“We explained how a package could help Que, went through all the assessments with them, and followed everything up so nothing fell through the cracks,” she says. “Together, we were able to secure a Level 1 Home Care Package. This meant Que could finally get the support he needs.”
Que, who has just turned 90, has now been receiving support from HomeCaring since June, 2020. To help him live independently, his small team of carers look after his personal needs, take him to different places, and help keep him safe at home.
Mich especially appreciates how flexible the team are. For example, when she had trouble caring for Que’s toenails, Lizzie arranged for a podiatrist to visit Que, so he did not need to visit a clinic during the pandemic. “Whenever I have a question, I can always text Lizzie,” says Mich. “Everyone is such a huge help. They take him to his doctor’s appointments; they provide the best care – even with the little things. When I didn’t know how to order his supplements, they helped me. Nothing is too much trouble.”
This is what truly sets HomeCaring apart: our willingness to go above and beyond, stemming from our belief that our clients are valued individuals, not just tasks. “I really enjoy working with Que,” says Thuy. “When we share stories, we are building a bond which is important to his wellbeing.”
This has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Que’s children live far away and can only keep in touch by phone due to social distancing regulations.
Having his carers’ support has not only helped Que’s physical health, but has given him companionship at a time when he needs it most. “Sometimes I want to cry because I can’t see my children, but seeing my support workers reminds me that I do have someone to look after me,” says Que.
“I really look forward for the days when my carers come each week, and we have already referred HomeCaring to someone else in my family. It has definitely made my life a lot better. I’ve become happier, and now I would like to live for many more years!”