Respite care making life much easier.

Through aged home care packages you can get respite for carers to give them a much needed break.

 Reg Kanofski from Wynyard accesses this service through his home care package and says it provides a welcome break for his wife Irene.

“It makes life much easier for Irene,” said Reg. “And this makes me very glad”.

Irene has been Reg’s full time carer for the past 14 years. “She deserves a medal,” said Reg.

Reg gets nine hours of respite each week. This means Irene can play lawn bowls again.

“Irene plays pennant during the summer months,” said Reg. “I’m glad she can go out and enjoy herself”.

Anglicare has delivered respite care and domestic services since Reg secured his Home Care package three years ago. “It took a long time to get,” said Reg. “But it has made a big difference to our lives. It happened after a specialist doctor in Hobart wrote that I’d need care for the rest of my life”.  The package covers some support with clinical feeding (which Reg requires six times each day), and contributes towards the costs of the food supplement and associated medical equipment.

“I have a wonderful Anglicare worker, Denise. She comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said Reg. “She’s around the house to make sure I’m okay, but she doesn’t bother me. I like the peace and quiet. She busily cleans the bathroom, sweeps and vacuums. Before she leaves, she always takes the washing off the line and leaves this folded on our dining table”.

The respite care also gives Irene time to enjoy her garden. She grows a variety of vegetables and her lime and lemon trees are laden with fruit.

“Respite means I’m in a much better place to provide Reg with the care he needs,” said Irene.

Reg and Irene have been married for 32 years. They met in mid-life, when they were both living in Bowral, NSW, famous as the home of Sir Donald Bradman. Back then, Reg was employed as a youth and community services worker and Irene had a job at the TAB. The couple shared a love of gardening and travel.

“I’m originally from Nanango, near Kingaroy in south eastern Queensland,” said Reg. “Would you believe in the 1940s and 50s, I used to pick peanuts for Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen?”

After they were married the couple moved back to Nanango. “Flo Bjelke-Petersen was actually the patron of my bowls club, but she didn’t bring us pumpkin scones,” laughed Irene.

Reg and Irene moved to Tasmania 22 years ago. They’d been here on holiday and fell in love with the climate.

They bought a house at Somerset and settled down to enjoy their beautiful large garden. Then unfortunately, in 2006, Reg was diagnosed with cancer in his tongue, throat and jaw. “This was 6 months after turning 70,” said Reg. “But I said to myself,’ this disease is not going to get me’”.

Above all, with Irene by his side, Reg has tried to keep living life. And to keep as active as he can.

“We think my cancer was the result of my having been a smoker,” said Reg. “I had quit years earlier. One day I went to the shop and discovered the cost of a carton of smokes had gone up by 20 cents. I couldn’t believe it. It was more than I was going to pay. The shop owner laughed and said he’d leave the carton on the counter for when I came back in. Well, I never did go back in. I never smoked again”.

In the first years after Reg’s cancer diagnosis, the couple still felt confident to travel. They bought a motor home and took a road trip through south eastern Australia, visiting family and friends along the way.

Later, the couple sold their Somerset property and moved into a low maintenance home in Wynyard. It is flat and a short walk to the grocer. Sometimes Reg joins Irene to visit the shop, using his walking frame. He is also an avid reader.

Their secret to leading fulfilling lives – the couple share a positive outlook.

“We do have one miracle,” said Irene. “There was a man who came here one day and was smoking. I asked him did he know what caused my husband to look like he does. Cancer. And that man quit smoking as a result. So Reg has made a difference to someone else’s life at least”.

Although Reg can no longer eat, the only thing he really misses is a cappuccino. Reg is happy to be able to still obtain adequate nutrition and protein. “When I was most unwell I dropped from 92 kg down to 40. Now I’m back up at around 80. And at least I can still smell coffee. Oh, and Irene making herself bacon and eggs at 5:30am most mornings,” he chuckled.

Reg says his physical challenges have not diminished the couple’s bond. “We have each other and that’s the main thing,” he said.

You can find out more about the availability of respite care at Aged and Home Care Services or by calling 1800 243 232.

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