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Extra support needed

All their lives, the Hindles have gathered people together and cared for others – and now the Blackmans Bay couple are receiving some support themselves.

Rosemary Stossich with parents Derek and Olive HindleOlive (87) and Derek (86) Hindle are familiar faces in their local community. “I’ve cooked for hundreds of people and I’ve run guests houses and cleaned houses,” said Mrs Hindle. “I’ve worked all my life. We raised five children. We had a student hostel for university students. Derek worked at Myers and Fitzgeralds and later he was a postman. I did shift work at Cadburys”.

In recent times, the Hindles have experienced some health issues and earlier this year began receiving support from Anglicare’s Community Aged Care Services. “We have a person come in to clean the floors and bathroom on a Friday,” said Mr Hindle. “It does help”. Anglicare also assists with medication management and arranged modifications to the entrance of the couple’s home’s to enable wheelchair access. Some changes in the bathroom are also being made so showering is easier.

While the Hindles are pleased with the support they are receiving, they would benefit from more. Mrs Hindle has been assessed as needing a Level 3 Home Care Package but currently remains on a waiting list for that support. The Government subsidy provided for Level 3 packages is $33,000 per year. For now, Mrs Hindle can only access the Level 2 (low-level care needs) package with subsidised funding up to $15,000 per year.

The latest data showed 2757 Tasmanians on the waiting list at June 30 this year, with most waiting for the higher level 3 and 4 packages. Nationally, more than 121,000 people are on the waiting list, including 40,000 people assessed as needing a level four package.

“There remains a large group of older Australians whose needs are not being met – and who are at a time of life when they simply cannot afford to wait,” said Anglicare Australia’s executive director Kasy Chambers. Ms Chambers said Home Care Packages made an important contribution to older Australians being able to remain living safely at home. She said they also helped to prevent avoidable hospital admissions and moves into residential aged care, with savings for individuals and across the health and aged care systems.

For the Hindles, family members are currently providing the dedicated care required. Mrs Hindle, who has dementia, has limited mobility and an eye issue. “Mum developed an eye ulcer in June and needed special drops put in her eye every half an hour, from six in the morning until twelve at night,” said daughter Rosemary Stossich. “This later reduced to every hour and now it’s back to six times a day, but that will be ongoing”.

“To be able to have Mum receive the level 3 package would take the pressure off having to be here six times a day, as I don’t actually live here at the house,” she said. “I’m also doing the showering for now until that higher level package comes through”.

“Dad isn’t able to use his hands because he has a degenerative nerve condition and can’t feel his fingers,” said Mrs Stossich. “This affects his fine motor skills and also means he can’t feel heat, so he has accidentally burned himself. I like to be here at meal times so Dad doesn’t have to get things out of the microwave oven”.

“We are very pleased with all our interactions with the people at Anglicare,” said Mrs Stossich. “But it would be such a help to be able to extend those services by getting the higher level of support for Mum”.