James* lives a good and content life at home with his wife in Dandenong, and he has some support from family and other service providers so that they can live together independently. Recently, it was identified that James didn’t have a lot to do during the day that was stimulating or that connected him to his local community.
Melba’s ISA team were approached to work in partnership with James, his wife and another provider to assist him to pursue his interests, develop friendships and valued roles within his local community.
It was clear to us that James’s love of gardening and animals was the best place to start. Our ISA team worked with James to create an advertising brochure for lawn mowing and dog walking services, and we assisted him to deliver them around his neighbourhood and place them on community notice boards.
Over time, people showed interest in James’s services and he is now supported by Melba’s ISA team to complete his local lawn mowing jobs and walk dogs for local residents. James has also become an active and valued member of the local Community Garden project and a volunteer gardener with a local volunteer association. With the right support from his ISA team, James is now much busier during the day and is very proud of his involvement in the community.
Melba’s ISA team were approached by a government funding body to provide daytime support to Anita*. Anita was moving from a secure institutional facility (where she had lived for over a decade) to community-based supported accommodation. Anita has several complex disabilities, and a history of violent and destructive outbursts that required large doses of medication to control her moods. She did not speak more than a word or two, and she had little confidence doing anything for herself.
By working closely with Anita’s new accommodation service, Melba’s ISA team began assisting Anita to settle into her community. While this transition was difficult for Anita, the strong collaboration with her other support providers enabled us to deal with and overcome many of the challenges facing both Anita and our staff.
Initially Anita was provided with intensive support to ensure her safety, the safety of her staff and those around her. Over two years, Anita made remarkable progress. Her aggressive and destructive outbursts significantly reduced and the medication she required halved.
Among many other things, Anita began to speak in near full sentences. She attended an adult numeracy and literacy course at a community house where she began to write some words and numbers. She also attended weekly Tai Chi sessions in her community, and would swim once or twice a week at her local swimming pool. By tailoring the right supports and the right approach for Anita, Melba assisted Anita to improve her quality of life, health and wellbeing. She has now become a part of her community. The intensive support Anita initially required reduced significantly, resulting in substantially reduced support costs.
*Name changed for privacy reasons