At the end of last year, retired builder 74-year-old Alf was struggling to stand up straight.

Two years ago, Alf was feeling light-headed and had a fall on a flight of stairs – severely dislocating his knee, breaking his leg and fracturing his lower back.

At the time, Alf was living in affordable housing, and had no support services. His son lived interstate and his friends, although in Adelaide, resided quite a distance away.

“After my fall I was in such a state – I felt depressed and was at the end of my tether,” Alf said.

“I wouldn’t even get up to go and make myself a cup of tea – the pain was that bad.”

Alf had two major operations following the incident, and later found out from his doctor that he had likely suffered a minor stroke.

Still on the waiting list for a spinal operation, he was barely coping to do the basic necessities at home.

“I couldn’t cook – I stopped because one night I made a casserole and somehow got it in the oven, but on getting it out, my back gave way and the whole thing hit the floor,” he said.

“It wasn’t just the moving around – I couldn’t navigate the [aged care] system and figure out where I was meant to go to get help.”

Alf was struggling to navigate the aged care system and find the right support services

Helping to Navigate the System

Following a home visit to Alf and realising the struggle he was having, AnglicareSA tenancy officer, Sara Williams referred him to the AnglicareSA Aged Care Customer Advocate, Jo Carter Jones.

“When I first met Alf he was really struggling – he was frail and fragile. He couldn’t get in and out of bed, or sit down and get up off the couch without serious pain. He had a very old back brace with Velcro that had completely worn – he was keeping it together with pegs.”

Jo, AnglicareSA

Jo, as the Aged Care Customer Advocate, works side-by-side with people like Alf, trying to navigate their way through the aged care system.

When Alf reached out to Jo, he said “it took only a couple of days before everything started to come together.”

“Within about two weeks, I had someone from aged care visit… and within another couple of weeks I had a Short Term Restorative Care Package with physio and the lot,” Alf said.

“After about three weeks I was actually standing up straight… and not only walking straight but quicker… I couldn’t believe it.

“It was absolutely fantastic – with the special exercises, acupuncture and massages – I was moving and physically fit again.”

AnglicareSA Aged Care Advocate, Jo helped link Alf to various services

Through this package, Alf also received equipment such as bed and toilet raisers, bathroom chairs and a new back brace – enabling him to regain his freedom, independence and confidence.

Alf continues to be supported by an AnglicareSA Home Care Package which provides the in-home services he needs.

“I’m receiving support and have all these gadgets to help me out — and it’s all because I had the assistance navigating through the system”, he said.

“Without that help – knowing who and when to call, what plans I could get – I can honestly say I wouldn’t have made it.”

Alf is now able to carry out the regular tasks at home pain free (and with a smile)

Home is Where the Heart is

To his delight, Alf has also since transferred to a house in Seaford Rise – an area of Adelaide very close to his heart.

“I used to live just up the road, back in the 1970s – we were one of the first families to buy a house down here,” he said.

“A few friends and I started the O’Sullivan’s Beach Football Club when my son was just 7 years old – he’s 52 now.

“The boys (son’s friends) still call me up Thursday, Friday – they pick me up to go to the footy, we have a few beers and they drop me home.”

Alf is overjoyed with life in his Seaford Rise community

Originally from England, at the age of 28, Alf brought his young family to Adelaide after friends had raved about life in South Australia – particularly the weather and the beaches.

For many years he worked for one of Australia’s largest construction companies, Baulderstone Hornibrook (now acquired by Lend Lease) with stints around the country.

“I worked on just about every single multi-storey building in Adelaide,” he said.

“Building is not like these days – in my first 40 years of work it was all manual and heavy labour.

“My back has always given me trouble and I’ve got arthritis through my hands – so my fall just topped it all off.”

Alf says he’s now in a “great place” – with the support through his Home Care Package and a home in the community that originally made him fall in love with Adelaide.

“In just the last week, I’ve had three phone calls from friends saying ‘you’re back down here again, we’ll drop down soon!’,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get back into the local lifesaving and footy clubs. I’m managing very well, the move has been good, and AnglicareSA have been terrific.”

As AnglicareSA Trott Park aged care site turned 10 years old, Olga, one of three inaugural residents, was also celebrating a decade of memories at the facility.

Olga and her late husband Tom moved into Trott Park immediately after its doors opened in 2009 –they spent around five years together before his passing.

As pioneering residents, the couple were instrumental in sparking the warm and welcoming culture at the home.

“When we first came here – I used to put videos in the common room and get all the residents to come and watch,” she said. “It was nothing for me to put them on and everyone really enjoyed it.”

“Before the trolley came along, Tom and I also ran the shop downstairs – which provided residents with pharmacy goods and other snacks.”

Together, Olga and Tom have shared many of their fondest memories at Trott Park – a highlight being their 50th wedding anniversary.

“There wasn’t one person left out of the celebrations,” she said. “You should’ve seen the size of the cake – we had to make sure everyone got a slice.”

Originally from New South Wales, the couple moved to South Australia after purchasing a house in Aberfoyle Park in 1992.

As Tom’s health deteriorated, they moved into the newly-established Trott Park site.

“We were the very first people upstairs and I remember having choice of all the rooms… we picked 149 and 150 because they had beautiful views.”

Olga opened the blinds to show off her sought-after window view.

“We’ve been here long enough now to see the landscape transform with the highway and new houses being built – it’s been quite entertaining.”

At 89 years old, Olga said her heart condition keeps her a little restless. But she doesn’t let that stop her from getting involved in various activities and talking to family every day.

“I’ve been going to bingo and ladies group,” she said. “We do different things – we have fun talking about families and photos and things like that.”

When asked about her favourite thing about living at Trott Park, Olga replied with “I love everything”.

“The carers are very obliging and helpful in every way and so is everyone – the residents, the nurses, the lifestyle, hospitality and cleaning staff – absolutely everyone.”

“I’m very happy at the moment – I would definitely say this is one of the best nursing homes you could possibly have.”

Before arriving at AnglicareSA Brompton exceptional needs residential facility 12 months ago, 48-year-old Maree** had been a victim of life’s most tragic circumstances.

Born into a world of chaos, Maree had been a victim of domestic violence, family suicide and child sexual abuse from a young age.

Sadly, her life did not get any better. Overwhelmed with trauma, Maree initially tried to take her own life. And as she got older, drugs became her coping mechanism – her best friend. 

Now, Maree has found safety and stability within her AnglicareSA Brompton home and community.

Still requiring cigarettes and medication to provide her with some control of her life, she loves her weekly shopping outings with a care worker.

“While Maree has a limited attention span due to drug-related brain injury and struggles with group activities, her sweet nature sees her connecting with others,” AnglicareSA Brompton Assistant Care Manager Corinne Shawcross said.

“We always remind her that she is such a beautiful soul and how lucky we are to have her as part of our Brompton family.”

Maree has a great sense of humour and her constant desire “to be loved for who she is” sits deep within her psychological and physical scars. She requires much support in order to maintain her positive thinking.

One day, Maree told AnglicareSA staff she “dreamed of being a super model” and “to be beautiful for one day so people would love her”.

Maree’s dream coming to life

With this in mind, staff went all out to create an unforgettable day for Maree.

“We took on the challenge and made it happen,” Corinne said.

“We took Maree shopping to find a new outfit, had a staff member style her hair, and got a make-up artist and photographer together for a special day to tick off her bucket list.”

In the weeks leading up to the photoshoot, Maree was so excited she’d mention the upcoming event to staff several times a day.

When the day eventually arrived, she got to live her dream.

Maree was amazed with her ‘Supermodel’ makeover

“While getting her makeup done, Maree announced that ‘no one had ever done anything nice for her’ – it had us all fighting back tears.”

“Maree is so beautiful both inside and out and we remind her every day,” Corrine said.

“Her story is just one of many broken angels who we love supporting to heal and learn to fly again.”

**Name has been changed

Why we decided to share Maree’s story

We are grateful to Maree for providing us with permission to share her story.

 It’s a kind reminder that beauty can be unlocked from within all of us and that everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, despite the unfortunate and tragic circumstances that may have consumed their past. 

At AnglicareSA, we remain passionate in supporting and caring for those experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage, and treasuring everyone as invaluable members of our wider community. As we bring something to people’s lives, they always bring something to ours.

AnglicareSA Home Care Services customer, Viv Samuel is celebrating his 100th birthday in January 2019.

Viv served with the British Army during World War II as a member of the tank regiment across Europe and North West Africa. 

In 1951, following the war, Viv and his late wife Lorna moved from England after Viv was offered a job in South Australia. 

Viv and Lorna made ‘many beautiful friends’ in South Australia and were married 68 years before she sadly passed away in 2013.

Viv and his late wife Lorna began receiving home care services around eight years ago. Since Lorna’s passing, Viv has continued using our support services.

We would like to thank our living legend Viv for his service, as this Remembrance Day we also recognise the soldiers who lost their lives at war.

This amazing man will be celebrating his 100th birthday on January 26, 2019. 

When Niki Howells-Schramm was three years old she asked her Grandad Tom to walk her down the aisle when she one day married.

The two had developed an enduring bond when Niki and her family had lived with her grandparents following the loss of their home in the Ash Wednesday bushfires.

So when Tom’s health deteriorated and he was unable to travel to Melbourne for his granddaughter’s wedding, Niki was determined to find a way to keep the commitment.  She decided to plan a second wedding, this one much closer to Tom.

Her mother, Tess Howells, contacted AnglicareSA’s Elizabeth Dutton Court residential aged care facility where Tom lives, with an unusual request.

“I asked them if it would be possible for us to hold a wedding ceremony at Elizabeth Dutton Court,” Tess said.

“They said yes straight away.  The staff embraced the idea and everyone has been so accommodating and helpful to us.  They have been wonderful.”

Residents at the facility have been invited to attend the ceremony and watch Niki realise her dream to have Tom walk her down the aisle.

AnglicareSA’s Head of Residential Aged Care, Jacinta Robertson, said Niki and Tom’s story had captured the imagination of the staff at Elizabeth Dutton Court and everyone was excited to help.

“Our carers become a part of our residents’ extended families,” said Ms Robertson.

“When an opportunity like this comes along to bring so much joy to a resident and his family, of course we will embrace it and do whatever we can to ensure it happens.

“Working in aged care, it’s not often you get to be involved in the planning of a wedding!

“To be able to help Niki realise her lifelong dream of having her Grandad walk her down the aisle is a real privilege.”

Niki and her husband Anastas will renew their wedding vows exactly a month to the day after their original Melbourne wedding, this time in front of 60 relatives and friends, including Tom’s fellow Elizabeth Dutton Court residents.  The ceremony will be followed by an afternoon tea reception.