Living on the land means everything to Echuca’s Fred Bridgewater. He was born on a farm in western Victoria and spent his life in shearing sheds, driving across the countryside as a seed grader and representing his rural council.
But a severe stroke seven years ago almost stripped him of the rural life he loved. Fred and his wife Shirley would have left their property by now, if not for the ongoing support Uniting AgeWell has provided.
Fred and Shirley are among 1,383 people Uniting AgeWell currently supports through Home Care Packages. In the 2017-18 financial year, Uniting AgeWell delivered 266,092 hours of care, 18,950 hours of respite and enabled clients to attend 78,926 outings.
General Manager Strategy and Business Development Fonda Voukelatos said Uniting AgeWell experienced 23 per cent growth in the number of home care packages it delivered between December 2017 and July 2018 and a massive 81 per cent increase since June 2016.
“The 2017 Federal Government reforms to home care funding have placed immense pressure on all aged care providers and created intense market competition,” he said.
“We have seen a 70 per cent increase in approved aged care providers Australia-wide since December 2016 and the Government’s release of packages has fallen well below its own estimates.
“Uniting AgeWell has continued to expand in this competitive market which is a positive endorsement of the quality of tailored care and support we are able to provide people in their own homes.”
Fred and Shirley have received a range of supports to enable them to live well with choice and peace of mind. Uniting AgeWell has arranged a bathroom renovation, provides domestic cleaning and personal care for Fred and supported the couple to remain active members of their community.
“Every week they provide respite so I can have a night out, and they help with Fred’s social group and exercise classes,” Shirley said.
That support means Fred, now aged 81, is able to continue enjoying “the freedom of the country” in the home he bought more than 40 years ago.
“Fred is fantastic,” Shirley said. “He has always had a veggie garden and he still loves it. He hops across on his wheelchair and sees the neighbour with the horses and cattle, he watches television and reads the newspaper.”
For more information on Uniting AgeWell’s tailored home care packages, call T: 1300 783 435.