Small things make all the difference for Stephen

August 2, 2022

For Stephen, who is retired and lives on his own, visits from his CatholicCare Activity Support Partners are the highlights of his week, “I have no family, so I really appreciate the company of my two CatholicCare workers.” For the last three years, Stephen has been receiving services from CatholicCare through his Commonwealth Home Support Program package. As he continues to live with depression, Activity Support Partner, Kathleen enjoys bringing out the bright and easygoing side of Stephen, “Whenever I support Stephen, I always get smiles and a laugh out of him.”  

 Stephen receives four hours of support per week from CatholicCare. “This consists of companionship, shopping and wellbeing support,” says Kathleen. “Sometimes I will help Stephen read and interpret documents, and I will also take him to appointments. Despite Stephen’s mental health challenges, Kathleen says that the Stephen she knows is a happy Stephen who is knowledgeable and loves to chat. “He likes to be helpful and give people knowledgeable advice that he has,” says Kathleen.  

 Stephen says it’s the small things Kathleen does that make all the difference, “like when we had to vote she helped me locate a place to go.” Kathleen’s bright and bubbly nature always puts Stephen in a better headspace, “She knows a lot of subjects and we get on really well. We also have a few shared interests. Kathleen used to play soccer and I’m very interested in all sports.” Stephen never ceases to be impressed by how quickly Kathleen can search topics on Google, “Whenever we come across a new topic or a word we don’t understand, she does a Google search, which gives us an instant answer!” 

 Kathleen cannot emphasise enough how crucial CatholicCare’s support is for Stephen’s wellbeing, “These services are extremely important as he really has no family around him. Emotionally, Stephen gets lonely living on his own, so having support from others helps brighten his day.” 

 In the last year, Kathleen has noticed great progress in Stephen’s independence at home, “When I first started supporting Stephen, he needed support with house duties. Then one day, we cleaned his kitchen cupboards and tidied up the kitchen and he was stoked with the outcome. Now, his kitchen has been looking perfect and tidy ever since.” Kathleen also says that Stephen is a whiz in the kitchen now, “He didn’t mind getting in and giving cooking a go. His mum never taught him how to cook so between Kate, his other support worker, and myself we support him in preparing different meals.” Stephen adds that he particularly appreciates Kathleen’s help with the washing up, which he describes as “the best part of all!”  

Often, after grocery shopping and assisting Stephen with meal preparation, Kathleen will receive a text message from him the next day telling her how great the meal was. Seeing Stephen show pride in his small achievements makes Kathleen’s hard work worth it. That said, Kathleen laughs and recalls times that Stephen has shown her a meal he has reportedly made that looks and smells like a bought meal. “I still tell him I’m proud of him,” Kathleen says.  

 Stephen says that he is glad to be with CatholicCare, “When I signed up to My Aged Care, CatholicCare were the first people to get back to me and I’m glad it worked out that way.” 

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