Keeping Connected on a Package
We discovered Harry as a friend before he became a client. He lived down the street from our office, and our staff would often chat to him while ordering coffee in the morning from a local cafe - then told us he was struggling...
Harry had an early diagnosis of dementia and couldn't drive; but he loved people and missed being around them. He also told us it was getting more and more difficult to remember to take his medication, and some days he forgot it completely. So, we began to make a habit of asking him everyday if he'd taken his tablets, but grew concerned that he was becoming more forgetful.
Our staff advised him how to be assessed for a home care package, and on learning he was eligible for funding to remind him to take his tablets and get out a bit more he was thrilled.
As a level one home care client his package covered his medication prompts but there wasn't enough left over to meet his needs to feel connected.
We thought about how we could get him around people a bit more, Harry mentioned how he would love to volunteer but worried about his memory. He didn't want to let anyone down and didn't have confidence to go somewhere on his own, or tell strangers about his diagnosis. On learning this, we offered him a volunteer role in our office.
Harry gladly accepted the offer, but only if we took him through a proper selection process and treated him like anyone else going for a job. After his very formal interview and police check, we gave him a letter of offer and welcomed him into the office for a few hours twice a week.
We gave Harry tasks that he could do easily without fretting about his memory, and always ensured he was seated near reception so he could talk to our staff as they came and went for meetings. He had an excellent system for writing down his tasks to post-it notes and bulletin boards and took incredible pride in the work he did.
After a few years, we began to recognise his needs were becoming more pronounced, and the time finally came when his family asked for advice on next steps. We worked with them to find a suitable residential care home with specialist dementia care - but talked to them first and ensured they knew about his office skills and what an asset he had been to us.
Once we were confident we'd found Harry a home where he would feel safe, surrounded by friends and (importantly) useful, we helped him to settle in, but first he made sure that he officially gave his two week's notice at his volunteer position and diligently worked through his last few weeks.
We visited Harry regularly for the next few years and were pleased to see that he'd kept up his filing and reception duties in his new home. He'd sit near the nurse's station and help them keep track of everyone. So much so, that they wondered how they'd ever got on without him!