Sylvie Porter has lived in her family home for 48 years, on a property that her husband Alan has called home for 82 years.
A beautiful home nestled amongst 2000 acres of picturesque mountainscape, some 80kms out of Port Macquarie.
Accessible only by dirt road and requiring visitors to have a vehicle that can cope with a quick river crossing to access the property; to say Sylvie and Alan are isolated would be an understatement.
And the isolation was one of the biggest concerns of their son Brett, who also lives on the property with his wife Gemma and family.
“We have three kids of our own, multiple animals to care for and we run a milling business from the property as well, so we are always on the go.
“And while of course, we check in on Mum and Dad every day, sometimes it was just to make sure that they have had their medication, without any meaningful conversation.
“So Gemma started looking into Home Care options late last year, when it became apparent that neither Mum or Dad were coping as well as they had been five years ago.”
Gemma says “Sylvie and Alan are definitely not ready for permanent care, but they very definitely needed help to keep them living in the same manner that they are accustomed to.
“This home is who they are and neither of them are ready to leave, so we were after solutions that would help maintain their dignity and keep them in their home, on the land they love, for as long as possible.
“I rang between ten and fifteen different care providers to find out more about Home Care, and only three of them actually got back to me.
“Of those three, only Bundaleer helped us to discover that we were eligible for a Government Home Care Package, to help Sylvie and Alan a minimum of ten hours support every week from Bundaleer carers.
“They were also the only organisation that did not include the travel time within the allocated package. Which, given we live almost 90 minutes out of Port Macquarie, this was a significant factor in making the decision to go with Bundaleer.
“Each visit our carer brings the newspaper with her and stories of goings on in town and the three of them will have a yarn over a cup of tea.
“And whilst they were both initially apprehensive about inviting someone into their home to help them, both Alan and Sylvie had an instant rapport with her and both now eagerly await her visits.”
Alan agrees “I don’t think they could have chosen a better girl for us. I love that she brings me the paper and I love having a yarn and she is a pretty good cook too,” he said.
Laura Munro is a Case Manager at Bundaleer Home and Community Care and works with the family to ensure that Sylvie’s needs are being met.
“We go out and see Sylvie twice a week to assist with meal preparation, specialising in meeting Sylvie’s SDA strict diet, socialisation and domestic assistance, to help Sylvie and Alan maintain their family home.
“We also provide support from a Registered Nurse fortnightly (and as required) which provides Sylvie and her family with the peace of mind that any health issues will be addressed with the family GP.
“We have flexibility within the package to identify any additional concerns and needs, because it does get so hot in their home during Summer, we have been able to arrange for a new air conditioning system to be installed, and we have a safe at home/spring clean coming up to ensure the safety of the homes coming into fire season.
“We will continue to work with the family to make sure that we continue to tailor the care plan to meet their care priorities.
“There are no two ways about it, without Bundaleer’s Home and Community Care, Sylvie and Alan would need to go into full-time care prematurely, against their wishes”, says Gemma.
For our family, Bundaleer Home Care is the perfect solution and in all likelihood will mean that Sylvie and Alan get to spend an extra five or ten years in their family home, which makes us all very happy.
“Given that we have three generations living on this property it was really important to us that the traditional roles of the family continued to be maintained.
“We wanted to make sure our kids got to be normal Grandkids.
“We wanted them to be able to duck over and raid the cookie jar or steal an icy pole before dinner and have a chat whenever they wanted to – without falling into a carers role.
“So for our family, Home Care is the perfect solution and in all likelihood will mean that Sylvie and Alan get to spend an extra five or ten years in their family home, which makes us all very happy”.
Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop making your own choices about the way you live your life.