Hi, my name is Helen. I’m just a pretty normal early 60s person. I love spending time with my family and friends, though I also enjoy time by myself. I’ve always been very passionate about social justice. To me that just means that everyone has the opportunity to live their best life and not be held back by things like inequality or discrimination or prejudice in any way.
In this first video, I share some of the challenges and barriers I experienced to moving out of the nursing home.
I was in aged care for seven and a half years, so it was such a long span of time. When I was first there, I tried so hard to find something else. Eventually, I suppose I, for my own emotional well-being and some sense of sanity, I just gave up thinking about it and thought, “Oh, it matters more for young people,” or it's not really something that I can achieve. So I got into this resignation, I suppose, is the right word, that this is where I have to be and that’s probably where I’ll be for the rest of my life, which was awful, and I just tried not to think about it.
And then one day I got this amazing phone call from someone who said, “Oh, there’s this information session. Are you interested?” I didn't even know that SDA existed at all, and that it was possible to have the type of apartment that I now have.
I was in the nursing home and thinking well, how will my support needs, my physical support needs in particular, be met by other people? I’ve been convinced by others over the last seven and a half years that, oh no, you have to be here. We’re the only ones that can meet your support needs. And so it was almost impossible to think how that could happen through a group of rostered staff, or what if someone doesn't turn up or how would I know that that’s what I need at a particular time or, all that sort of thing. It just erodes your sense of confidence and sense of autonomy.
You have to just say, “Look, I’m pretty sure that it'll be fine. People tell me it will be fine.” Because no use getting into an argument about it because you can’t prove that it's going to be alright. It’s like taking a leap of faith, you know that you’ll need a lot of support to do things. And people try and describe how it works, but it's hard to really see what that will mean. I didn't know how I’d make sure there was food in the fridge or that my bills were paid or make sure that I had the support I needed to get up in the morning, or to go to bed at night, all those things.
It was really important for me to find out about how things would work so that I could tell them, so they felt comfortable and so they could be really right behind me. That confidence was really important. And so the next time someone asked me, I’ll say, “Oh, I’m really looking forward to having the support worker, who’s going to come and help me cook the dinner I want, and that sort of thing. So I was just able to dispel my own concerns and the concerns of the people around me.