Starting a new life overseas isn’t easy, but an act that takes resilience, courage and a strong spirit.
Thankfully, these are all qualities that Thu Hong, a determined mother of five, is known for.
In the 1970s Thu Hong’s husband, a high-ranking army official in Vietnam, escaped Communist imprisonment and fled to Australia as a political refugee. In time, he sponsored his wife and their five children to migrate to Sydney. Once the family moved, Thu Hong dedicated herself to raising her children – then later in life, to caring for her ageing mother before she passed away in her 90s.
Thu Hong’s spirit has never wavered, even as she grew older and more frail. A few years ago, her children noticed that everyday tasks had become too difficult for their mum to manage alone. “Mum is getting older day by day, which affects her physical abilities,” says Thuy Ai, one of Thu Hong’s daughters. “Even though she tries to be strong, she needs help at home.”
Supporting Thu Hong with plenty of heart
To access the support she needs, Thu Hong received a government Home Care Package and chose Home Caring as her care provider.
Case manager Phuoc Nguyen spend some time getting to know Thu Hong, talking to her in Vietnamese about what would make her life more comfortable.
Phuoc then paired Thu Hong with Thuy Van: an experienced support worker who provides care three hours a week, including domestic assistance, social support and transport. Thu Hong is thrilled with Thuy Van’s care, and especially appreciates her small acts of kindness. For example, when Thy Van found out that Thu Hong’s son usually dropped off fresh bread rolls for breakfast but couldn’t because of COVID restrictions, she stopped off at the bakery on her way to work to buy bread rolls for Thu Hong.
“Thuy Van remembered this detail, and she volunteered to get the fresh rolls for me. I really appreciated it,” says Thu Hong.
“She plays such an important role in my care. She’s always polite, punctual and I’m extremely happy. She’s also happy to talk to me as an elderly person. She is just like a daughter to me.”
Culturally sensitive care
Another important aspect of Thu Hong’s care is meeting her cultural needs, especially when it comes to language barriers.
Recently, Thu Hong raised concerns about her personal alarm because the service required her to speak English, which she found difficult. Phuoc took the time to do some research and find a service that could speak to Thu Hong in Vietnamese, so she could feel safe at all times.
Thu Hong’s family were thankful for this effort, and how the Home Caring teams makes an effort to accommodate their mum. “The service doesn’t just help mum overcome language barriers; it is also matched to what she needs, even if this means being flexible and changing routine,” says Thuy Ai.
“On Wednesday, for example, mum has to carry the rubbish bin from her unit to the main street. It’s a long way and quite heavy, and she’s fallen once in the past. Home Caring totally understood the situation and rescheduled their service to help mum with this. My brothers, sisters and I really appreciated this rearrangement.”
“On top of helping her with everything, Thuy Van keeps mum smiling. I recommend that everyone get a Home Care Package provider that can offer someone who speaks your language, because it helps a lot with their mental health,” adds Thuy Ai.
As someone who is used to being independent and looking after others, Thu Hong is particularly happy that her children no longer have to worry about her. “I always talk to my children, and I love that they don’t have to worry about me because Home Caring look after me so well. They can look after their own families,” she says.
“Thank you Home Caring for making me feel alive, seen and not alone. From the moment I met Phuong Duong – the patient and caring care advisor I first met who guided me through the process of applying for a Home Care Package – to now, I knew It was a great decision to choose their services and I don’t regret it!”