A new sense of life

Irene and John Doyle are Carinity Home Care clients in Rockhampton. Irene and John, who lives with dementia, receive a range of services and support through the Federal Government’s Home Care Package program.

Irene, 73, is used to being busy. Her government job took her to different places and she and John, 88, were volunteer musical performers at retirement homes. They also volunteered in juvenile justice and prisons.

Rockhampton couple Irene and John Doyle find joy in their music and living together at home
Rockhampton couple Irene and John Doyle find joy in their music and living together at home.

With life more constrained managing John’s dementia, and noticing a decline in both their health, six months ago Carinity Home Care increased their support to include twice-weekly hydrotherapy sessions, in-home physiotherapy and massage, and delivery of pre-prepared meals.

“We are walking better, feeling less pain, and our blood pressure has dropped. The massage is helping, as we both have trouble with our knees and lower backs. The physio has given us exercises to do at home, some stretching and walking around the house,” says Irene.

“With Lite & Easy, I lost about four inches around the waist. Not only do the meals taste good, they are healthy, and I no longer have to worry about my hands slipping with a sharp knife.”

Carinity recently organised cognitive testing for John, which helped Irene understand what was going on in his mind.

“I want to find out how I can help him, try to re-teach him songs – and help myself put up with him!”

She encourages John to take along his old guitar to respite care, providing reassurance and a sense of familiarity for him.

Irene and John have been in their house for two years and it’s only now that she feels like she has the energy to get everything sorted. They’ve created extra space in their lounge room and Irene is especially pleased with a small outdoor space she has created in the carport.

Her next challenge is to spend time tracing her own family history.

“My mother and John himself were removed from their families, losing family connections.
We still don’t know where our family came from. Most Aboriginal people don’t know a lot of their family and it doesn’t matter how old they are, they have lost a lot of family along the way.”

Irene says her new sense of life is thanks to Carinity.

“If it wasn’t for Carinity I wouldn’t be able to do all this. Without their help I reckon I wouldn’t be doing anything.”

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