This is Maureen and Tom in front of their much-loved home of 20 years in Aldinga. Over the years they have celebrated countless milestones with family and friends, taken advantage of the beautiful Aldinga shoreline, advocated for the natural environment, and enjoyed local wildlife.
Maureen and Tom worked hard during their lives – Tom traveling the world as an engineer with the Merchant Navy and Maureen as a nurse and a teacher. Between raising their family, welcoming five grandchildren (including two sets of twins), and many adventures along the way, the couple has had a life filled with cherished experiences.
After 58 years together, continuing to be who they are as a couple and individuals is as important now as it has ever been. They still keep their minds busy; for Tom that means learning something new every day, and for Maureen it’s staying up to date with the news and campaigning for causes she believes in via social media.
While the couple say they have had a great life and have done everything they set out to, they still feel young at heart. Maureen says, “on the inside, I feel like I’m 18; full of energy and ideas. There is an 18-year-old screaming to get out.”
But Maureen and Tom also accept their bodies aren’t as young as they feel, and they need care and support to keep being themselves at home for as long as they can.
After breaking her shoulder, Maureen hasn’t been able to perform many everyday tasks for herself, like doing her hair and pottering in the garden. And while Tom does as much as he can to help his wife, he feels at peace knowing they have ECH on their side. When Tom had a heart attack he was told he had weeks to live… that was five years ago. Although to many nurses he is a ‘Tomcat’ with nine lives, his health has continued to decline and he now lives with from a number of medical conditions, which require frequent visits by specialists and nurses.
Maureen and Tom both have Home Care Packages with support provided by ECH. They both began on Level Two and now receive Level Three packages as their needs have increased over time.
“When I first met Maureen and Tom, I couldn’t help but see what a wonderful relationship they have and how important staying together in their own home is to them. Through getting to know Maureen and Tom and building a relationship with them we have been able to come up with a plan to support them with a combination of home service and clinical wellness services that are unique to them and enable them to get the most out of their lives in the home they have shared for decades,” said Taryn, their ECH Care Coordinator.
With Care Coordinator Taryn spending time getting to know Maureen and Tom and taking the time to understand their changing needs on a regular basis, the couple uses a wide range of support services including, gardening, domestic assistance, occupational therapy, nursing, and transport.
Before coming to ECH, Maureen and Tom were not sure what type of help and services would be available to them. Tom explains, “we knew we needed support, yet we didn’t want to become a burden to our loved ones. Our grandchildren have been a great support, especially during the early days of COVID, however they have busy lives too. ”The support ECH provides means they are not having to ask friends or family members for help every time, enabling them to stay in control and independent around their home.
“The ECH staff treat you like they’ve known you their entire life,” says Maureen. “Everyone is really friendly and good to talk to and we’ve had a better life since being with ECH.”
“Following my shoulder injury, ECH has helped me overcome a difficult recovery. I’m now working on my goal to do my own hair, but until that time I’m happy to get some help from the ECH team. Tom does so much for me, but the one thing he cannot quite do the way I want it is my hair,” chuckles Maureen.
For Tom, the best thing about ECH is peace of mind. “ECH have really helped Maureen through her pain and helped her get back on her feet. I can’t quite do as much as I used to for myself and Maureen, and when I die I’m happy knowing that she will be looked after, which gives me reassurance. We’re very lucky.”
For more information about ECH home services, call ECH on 1300 275 324 or visit ech.asn.au/home-care/