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James’ place spick and span thanks to health service’s helping hand

Published:  03 January 2024

94-year-old James Meads isn’t too active on the business end of a mop these days but thanks to a Townsville Hospital and Health Service (HHS) program assisting older community members to keep their independence for longer, he still proudly resides in the home he built with his wife almost 40 years ago.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s (HHS) Older Person’s Community Services Home Care team visit Mr Meads once a fortnight to clean his home from top to bottom while also catching up for a chat with the former saw-mill worker.

"I’m only 94 but having the team pop in and clean is very helpful because I do find the cleaning quite hard these days," Mr Meads said.

"The team are really lovely and while they are busy cleaning on their visits, it’s nice to have someone visit for a chat," he said.

The father of two sons, Mr Meads was reluctant to have his family pick up the cleaning as he knew they already did so much.

"The team do such a good job and even clean my outside sitting area which I appreciate because this is where I spend a lot of time sitting as the breeze comes through the louvers."

Townsville Hospital and Health Service Older Persons Community Services manager Susan Tench said the home care services provided domestic services for older people in the community over 65 and 55 for our First Nations community members.

"Much like James, a lot of our clients need some extra help because they are getting older which is where the team can help with tasks like vacuuming, washing, mopping or making beds which are all small things that allow older people to stay in their homes," Ms Tench said.

"An important part of the service is working in partnership and beginning our relationship with each client by discussing what they need help with and what they don’t.

"It’s essential we don’t tell our clients what they need and discuss what they do need because this is an important part of ensuring our older community members keep their independence and pride."

"Currently, we assist about 500 members of our community who are all so grateful for some extra support around the home."

Ms Tench said keeping a home neat and tidy also helped to keep people safe.

"Practically, having a neat and tidy home without trip or falls hazards in a population who might not be as steady on their feet is a good thing because we know if people aren’t falling and hurting themselves, they have a better quality of life," she said.  

"In healthcare circles, we call this a ‘wellness and enablement’ approach to care that keeps people well, out of hospital and in their homes.

"And as a team, we have good strong reputation with our consumers of doing just this because we have a team of 20 permanent and casual staff which makes us a reliable service for our community."

Ms Tench said if people wanted to find out more information about accessing home care services for themselves or, someone they love, they could do so by speaking with her team.

"The program is run through My Aged Care but we encourage anyone to phone us on 4433 9500 for more information and next steps for accessing support," she said.

"We’d also encourage people to contact us if they are compassionate, hardworking and enjoy a good chat because the team is always looking for new recruits."

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