Support at home helps active seniors enjoy life.
Christine Harrison has a deep, rolling laugh and a sense of humour that constantly bubbles to the surface. She’s 87, almost 88, and, despite being vision impaired, she’s a busy lady.
The mother of three, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of 15 prefers to be called Chris. She receives weekly home services from Australian Unity, “mostly to help me keep the house clean”, she says.
“I like having someone do it for me, because then I know the job is done well. They might notice things that I wouldn’t see. I do my own washing, but I need someone to help me hang it out; mostly in case I fall,” Chris says.
Chris and her husband John moved to Australian Unity’s Victoria Grange retirement community in Victoria’s Vermont South in 2009. They had brought up their children – Noela, Donald and Helen – in Clayton and lived in the area for 50 years.
“John was a carpenter and later became a building inspector,” Chris says. “I was a stay-at-home mum. I had open-heart surgery 14 years ago, and I always say to my family that I am lucky to still be here. I’ve already had 14 more years than I would have had without the surgery.
“John battled with arthritis when we first moved in and his Home Care Package helped him out with a lot of the little things he needed, such as showering and dressing. One of his carers used to drive him to the Men’s Shed in Boronia once a week. He made some beautiful wooden clocks there.”
Chris says John became unwell in 2013 and moved into higher-level care within the community. He passed away in 2015. “We were married for 61 years,” she says. “We were devoted to each other.”
Chris’s Home Care Package also assists her to make regular visits to a church-based activities group, where she enjoys board games and friendly company. She recently joined a crochet group, supported by volunteers at Vision Australia.
“I enjoy crocheting, but I was dropping stitches and I couldn’t see them, so it’s nice to have a bit of help. The other ladies are all younger than me, but they accept me and we have a few laughs.”
Chris enjoys the activities at Victoria Grange, too. “We have a lovely community centre and there’s always something I can join in.”
Helen Panotis, a Community Liaison Manager at Australian Unity, says Chris has recently moved from a level-two Home Care Package to a level-three package, “to allow her to access the community more”.
Download our Home Services product brochure to find out more about the services we provide.
If you have an enquiry about Home Care Packages you can contact us online or phone 1300 160 170.