Jim and Perry have been good mates since they were young. They went to school together, stayed in touch over the years, and shared many good times together. But in recent years, their friendship has taken a different turn. Jim is now helping to care for Perry, who is living with dementia.
Perry was diagnosed with the disease over three years ago. The music and car-loving Sydney-sider started to struggle with simple tasks, and eventually couldn’t live independently at home. With no family to care for him, Jim organised for Perry to receive support from a home care provider, but he wasn’t satisfied with the service they provided. “They weren’t doing much for him,” says Jim. “I thought that he was headed for 24/7 care or a nursing home.”
Everything changed, though, when Perry was admitted to hospital at the end of 2019 due to poor health. Before he was discharged, it was clear that Perry would need even more help at home – not just with daily tasks, but to build up his core muscles.
Seizing the opportunity to find a provider that would be a good match for his friend, Jim reached out to Ruby Akrong, director of Home Caring Prestons in Sydney. “I met with Jim and Perry, and we talked about what he needed,” says Ruby. “Alongside help with daily tasks such as washing the dishes and helping him take the washing down, we wanted to help Perry achieve his goals so that he could live more independently.”
Perry started receiving care from Ruby’s team: specifically, home visits from Siobhan and Carol, two highly experienced support workers, seven days a week. They cooked him healthy and delicious meals, helped him shower and dress, and assisted with the housework. “I can’t speak highly enough of them. I kept asking, ‘where have these angels come from?” says Jim.
Most importantly, Siobhan and Carol truly cared about Perry. “After a couple of months of care, it became evident that they were genuinely interested in Perry. They weren’t just coming for a shift. They gave him friendship that he’d never had before,” says Jim.
It wasn’t long before a wonderful change occurred. A year after HomeCaring began supporting Perry, his independence began to significantly improve.
Perry couldn’t perform even simple tasks when he left hospital. Fast forward to today, and he makes his bed, brings in the washing, sweeps the floor, microwaves his own meals and shops for takeaway. “He’s gone from someone who couldn’t dress himself to needing no assistance. He couldn’t shower himself properly. He does that by himself now; we just keep an eye on him to check he’s okay,” says Jim.
“A lot of it has to do with the friendship Siobhan and Carol have given him, and the encouragement they give him to do things. He’s a different person from what he was a year ago. They have a good influence on Perry.”
Perry has improved so much that his home visits have been reduced from seven days a week to just four days, in line with his continuing needs. “It’s excellent to see the progress Perry has made,” says Ruby. “We’ve reduced his days as he has gradually improved. Jim lets me know if any issues pop up – we’re paying close attention to Perry’s needs so we can adjust our service accordingly.”
As for Jim, he couldn’t be more pleased to see his friend so happy and well cared for. “Perry is now capable of doing most things for himself, and that’s come about in 12 months,” he says. “The benefit that he gets out of his care is incredible. I just can’t tell you how grateful I am for the dedication the HomeCaring team have given him.”