Real Carers Real Stories – Josephine
Until recently, Josephine cared full-time for her 79-year-old husband Marcello, who has significant cognitive decline. Josephine provided ongoing care and support until the level of care required by Marcello necessitated his move into a residential aged care facility.
Josephine describes her husband, Marcello, as a clever, accomplished and dynamic man who is larger than life. However, with the onset of rapid cognitive decline and extreme anxiety, Marcello suddenly had to rely on Josephine for full-time support and care including keeping medical and therapy appointments, showering, tending to physical hygiene needs, and dressing.
Josephine also took over care of the couple’s garden, which was a favourite hobby of Marcello’s. Marcello’s disorientation and wandering saw the enclosed garden become an important safe space in which he could sit and walk. It also provided Josephine with reassurance that he could not wander away from the home.
As Marcello’s condition declined further, Josephine made the decision to place him in residential aged care.
‘Marcello needed more care than I could provide at home. It was heartbreaking to see his deterioration, but with the help of our doctor and my family, we made the decision to place him in care.’
Josephine continues to care for Marcello while he is in a residential aged care including interpreting as he has reverted to his first language.
Recognising she needed help, Josephine was referred to Carer Gateway through My Aged Care.
‘I was in so much grief,’ said Josephine. ’I was grieving because I lost my husband and the man he was and I will grieve again when he passes.’
Carer Gateway helped Josephine attend a grief counselling seminar which had a positive impact upon her mental health.
‘The seminar I accessed through Carer Gateway was wonderful, and the people running the course allowed me to recognise that it was okay to do something for myself.
‘In accessing the grief counselling, I felt very safe as I could express my feelings in total confidence that I would be accepted without judgement.’
’The seminar was the catalyst for me being able to move on with my life. I joined a walking group, and the Carer Gateway newsletter is full of helpful information and activities,’ said Josephine.
‘Carer Gateway has been such an important and non-judgemental support for me. It is a long journey of healing for me but I know Carer Gateway will be there by my side.’