‘A helping hand can make all the difference if you want to grow old at home’

Jun 29, 2021
Adrienne gets her house cleaned for $10. How? Source: Getty Images

When telling my friends I get my house cleaned for $10 and my yard mowed for $30, they are amazed. “How?” they ask.

I only found out about My Aged Care through my niece, who is a social worker. I’d never heard of it. Neither had my friends.

The statement on the website that caught my eye was ‘If you need some help around the house … My Aged Care is here to help’. There’s an introductory video before you start your aged care journey.

The first step was admitting I was aged! We Baby Boomers hate to admit we aren’t as young as we used to be and might find menial tasks difficult. I could see what services were available to me to help me stay in my home. I completed an online assessment to see if I was eligible, and what I was eligible for. This is the standard process for everyone.

I don’t know what the exact requirements are, but I’m a 70-year-old pensioner and I qualified. I was already getting some government assistance with my lawn mowing — $250 a year through a Home Assist program. It wasn’t a lot when each mow was $75 — basically a little more than three mows a year, but better than nothing.

After providing my details online, a visit was booked to assess my most urgent needs. Help with housecleaning and lawn mowing were the obvious ones. The aged care consultant also booked a nurse appointment to look at my medical requirements. I regularly need to visit a podiatrist and a physiotherapist as well as have remedial massage. I can now visit a podiatrist or physiotherapist for $10, a huge saving on the $30 to $40 gap I was paying. I can also use physiology services for $10 per hour, so I go to an exercise class run by a physiologist once a week.

I think remedial massage comes under the alternative therapies field, so I haven’t been offered this service. I still pay $35 gap for a $70 massage when my back needs it.

Yet the best thing for me has been the help with incontinence. I like to think I’m not too bad considering I’ve had six children, but I still like to wear protection in case I cough or sneeze unexpectedly. Physical activity can also cause embarrassment, and walking netball is no exception even though there’s no jumping and running.

Not only am I entitled to enough Poise pads for a whole netball team, but also $623 a year to buy any other incontinence products like adult nappies (I’m not quite there yet; but they’re great for camping). I saw Starts at 60 had some Conni incontinence panties on sale recently so I used some of my $623 to buy some. They’re fantastic, much more comfortable and cause less skin irritation than wearing a pad every day.

Apparently, I get help from the state and federal governments. MASS (Medical Aid Subsidy Scheme) is available to any Queenslander over 65 years of age with a Seniors Card (not a pension card). MASS covers spectacles, walking frames, electric wheelchairs, as well as the recommended brand of incontinence pads. My reading glasses are covered by my private health insurance, and thankfully, don’t need a walker or wheelchair — yet!

To be eligible for CAPS (Continence Aid Payment Scheme), you must have a pension card, or suffer from a neurological disease. CAPS gives me money to buy any other incontinence aid apart from the Poise pads — hence the Conni purchase. When I mentioned the Starts at 60 Conni purchase to my care worker, she told me I might be entitled to eight pairs of Conni a year as well.

It’s hard admitting I’m aged. My mum in her 90s always refused to have household help and even now, in aged care, refuses to admit she needs help with her incontinence. It must be a generational thing. After working all my life, I’m going to take whatever help is offered.

Keen to read other real life stories written by over-60s in the Starts at 60 community? You can find them all on our dedicated Bloggers page. Think you have a story to share? Send an email and we’ll let you know if it’s suitable for the website.

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