Support workers help elderly retain independence

Resthaven Limestone Coast Community Services home support worker Desma Jenke is making a difference in the lives of older people across the region, supporting them to live independently in their own homes or enjoy a short stay in Resthaven’s Naracoorte respite cottage. 

Ms Jenke, who has worked in the role for around eight years, said she loved the work and enjoyed enabling people to continue to live at home for as long as possible.

One of her clients is Arnold Williams, 72, who often spends time at the Naracoorte respite cottage.

Mr Williams has endured several health setbacks, meaning he needs assistance with daily living tasks, relying strongly on the support of family. Staying for a couple of weeks in the respite cottage gives his wife some well-deserved time out to catch up on her book-keeping work and to rest.

At the cottage, Mr Williams enjoys meals made fresh in the site kitchen and staff on duty 24 hours a day. The service includes transport to and from his home in Rendelsham and activities are structured around his interests, with Mr Williams particularly fond of quiz games on television.

“What I like about being here is that everybody is very kind,” he said.

“I have enjoyed my time here, but there’s no place like home. I’m looking forward to getting back to my dog, Moose and my wife, of course.”

Along with respite stays, Mr Williams receives support from his Home Care Package through Resthaven Community Services with help about the house and personal care and enjoys attending the Millicent men’s group, which offers a social outlet with other ‘blokes’.

“Arnie will enjoy going home now that he has had a break here in Naracoorte. I understand, as family and community are the two most important aspects of my life,” Ms Jenke said.

Overnight respite is available in Naracoorte and in-home and day respite for carers of older people is available in metropolitan Adelaide and regional areas.

Established in 1935, Resthaven is a South Australian not-for-profit aged care community service associated with the Uniting Church in Australia.

Services are provided throughout metropolitan Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, Murraylands, Riverland, Fleurieu Peninsula, lower Barossa region and the Limestone Coast of South Australia.

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