AgeWell move adds up to a good life

Elmar Himmelreich. (Pictures: Supplied)

Retired maths teacher Elmar and retired accountant Nadia have a number of things in common.

Both migrated to Australia and are now proudly Australian citizens, both are excited about catching up with friends and family with restrictions lifting – and both are living comfortable and happy lives at home thanks to their home care packages through Uniting AgeWell.

And of course, both are good with calculations and have long figured out that care + comfort = contentment.

Latvian-born Elmar Himmelreich, 82, lives with his wife Pam at their cherished home in Melbourne’s north for the last 45 years.

He has CANVAS syndrome, but the personal care and physiotherapy he receives means he can still spend happy days at home listening to classical music and the radio and admiring the birds and flowers in his beautiful garden.

CANVAS syndrome is a rare disorder that causes dizziness and affects balance, nerves and sight which becomes blurry. Put simply, the late onset condition means if Elmar stands up he falls down, so he needs to be helped into his wheelchair.

“There’s something so wonderful about being in your own home,” Elmar says.

Egyptian-born Nadia Abdelmalek, 79, worked full-time as an accountant until six years ago and says, ”I’m looking forward to going out to the shops and getting on with my life now that isolation is over.”

Nadia gets help with shopping, domestic care and maintenance and plans on having surgery on her shoulders soon to reduce her pain levels.

“Receiving a home care package through Uniting AgeWell enables me to continue living in my own home and in the community I know and love,” she says. “I have friends at church and am part of a ladies’ group.”

Nadia and Elmar are among the thousands of clients across Victoria and Tasmania receiving home care services through the not-for-profit aged care provider – with many in Melbourne’s north and west.

Uniting AgeWell is now also delivering home care services to some 900 clients in the Brimbank council area, as well as those in Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong.

Rohan Bond, Uniting AgeWell program manager West Metro Home Care says with 80 per cent of clients living alone, extra welfare checks and one-on-one visits are being done to ensure they’re OK.

Rohan says an upside to the pandemic is that many people adjusted their home care packages to buy electric beds, mobility scooters and install ramps in their homes to enable them to live more independently during isolation. So now that things are getting back to normal, they’ll be able to continue living their easiest best lives possible.

Clients can also access Uniting AgeWell’s North West Metro Short-Term Restorative Care package – an early intervention program that aims to reverse and/or slow functional decline in older people and improve their wellbeing.

Rohan says the pandemic has taken its toll on family carers who reported being exhausted, with a growing need for respite care.

Uniting AgeWell provides respite in the home as well as centre-based respite. And to meet this demand, all Uniting AgeWell residential communities are offering respite stays, with a special package offering a three week stay for the price of two.

For inquiries about home care packages, respite stays and residential facilities, 
1300 783 435 or