Lynette’s Story

July 4, 2023

“She saved my life,” Lynette says, looking gratefully at her Activity Support Partner, Gayle. Once a fortnight, Gayle supports Lynette in the community as part of her Commonwealth Home Support Program package. “Without the help from Gayle, I would be quite depressed. She makes me feel good inside and nothing is a bother.” 

Lynette began accessing support from CatholicCare 19 months ago when she started to notice some significant physical and cognitive changes. Many years ago, Lynette’s husband had a career that took them all around the world, and they spent time living in the Philippines, England and Canada. “These days,” Lynette says, “we live in a retirement village, which I love, but I’m not as steady on my feet and I’m not as well mentally. When Gayle visits, we always go out somewhere, which gives my husband a break too. It’s nice because when I get home from my time out with Gayle, my husband notices I’m more up.”  

Reflecting on Gayle’s fortnightly visits, Lynette says that “for me, it’s all about the friendship.”

Lynette always remembers what we’ve previously talked about which is great for me with my forgetfulness. We enjoy shopping together and our favourite shop is the card shop. Lynette helps me go through the list of who I need to buy cards for. It’s always fun reading the messages in each card and choosing the most fitting one.” 

Gayle recently arranged for Lynette to attend Brain Games classes at CatholicCare’s Memory Innovations Centre. “This was great for filling up Lynette’s toolbox with ideas to keep her brain active,” Gayle says. For Lynette, she continues to use the tools she learnt through these classes. “Some of the things they suggested were to read the Sunday paper, and to take the initiative to ring my friends,” Lynette says. “They also suggested things like doing small bits of a puzzle at a time, rather than tackling it all at once. I found many of the things they suggested to try very helpful.” 

During the COVID lockdowns, Gayle was grateful that her visits with Gayle were able to continue. “We were able to keep the visits going, but we wore masks. Being able to continue our outings through lockdown saved me, and it saved my husband too. Physical illness can be dealt with, but illness of the mind is hard, and this is where I struggled most during the lockdowns.”  

 For Gayle, the best part of her job are the stories that her clients share. “Lynette and I clicked straightaway. My goal during each client visit is to be in the moment. For example, if I run into someone I know when we are out and about, I will say a quick and friendly hello, but I remind myself who I am there for, and return my full attention to the client.” Lynette comments on Gayle’s ability to be fully present and says that this is one of Gayle’s greatest traits.  

Both Lynette and Gayle describe themselves as blessed by the connection they have formed. “For me, this is more than just a job,” Gayle says. “I am blessed by my work.” 

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