Moya's Story

Tailored care to the unique needs of each person

For most of her life, Moya has loved being surrounded by people.

Outgoing and always up for a chat, the supportive mother-of-four enjoyed an active social life: spending time with loved ones, playing tennis and attending her beloved knitting club meetings.

But at the start of 2019, this all changed as Moya’s world turned upside down.

Moya suffered a mild stroke, which affected certain aspects of her personality and behaviour. She became highly anxious and started calling her children over 30 times a day. Leaving the house became difficult, and Moya eventually became isolated.

“Mum lost her outgoing nature after the stroke,” says Mikaela, one of Moya’s daughters. “She wasn’t eating or drinking, and she was getting very lethargic and depressed.”

“We needed extra support because we didn’t know what to do.”

To get the help they urgently needed, Mikaela and her siblings turned to HammondCare, Waratah, for Respite Care.

Initially Mikaela wasn’t sure what to expect, but she was immediately put at ease by the staff’s approachability and genuine care for her mum. Penny van Raalte, Residential Care Services Manager at Waratah, and her team of carers and registered nurses assessed Moya and took the time to get to know her. Managing her anxiety took top priority.

“Moya’s anxiety increases if anything is a minute out of her normal routine,” says Penny. “We looked at how we could implement strategies to help her manage that.”

One strategy was working with a GP to establish a predictable routine for Moya to take her medication, eat meals and get out of bed. Remarkably, her carers then adapted their own routines to suit Moya’s – an example of how HammondCare staff tailor their care for each person’s needs. “We don’t usually set regular times for residents but for Moya, that was what she needed,” says Penny.

Care staff also worked with Moya on her mobility, and gently encouraged her to take part in recreational activities with other residents – all in Moya’s time.

“Because we have an individualised approach to care, we can do what Moya needs, in the way she needs it, to manage that anxiety,” says Penny. “We don’t put people in our routine; we work in their routine.”

This had a positive impact on Moya’s wellbeing. By the end of her time at Waratah, Moya’s anxiety levels had significantly decreased. She began eating again, thanks to her love for the wholesome food cooked in Waratah’s kitchens. “She loves the food, which is fantastic,” says Mikaela.

The biggest improvement, though, was in Moya’s willingness to engage with the outside world. Nurtured by the warm environment at Waratah, Moya emerged from her isolation. She began to enjoy chatting with her carers, and made friends with the other residents.

“When she first came here, she would only eat in her room. By the end of her time here, she was eating in the dining room with other people, which took a lot of encouragement,” says Penny.

Mikaela and her siblings were relieved – not just because of the improvement they could see in Moya, but also the practical help they received from HammondCare.

As Moya could no longer live independently at home, HammondCare at Home was brought in to help configure Mikaela’s sister’s home for Moya to live after her time in respite. Penny and her team also guided the family on how to maintain a routine that would help Moya manage her anxiety.

Moya has since returned to Waratah for a second respite visit which can give her family peace of mind. They know their mum is in a place where she feels connected and cared for.

“As her family, it helps us to know that she’s looked after and that she actually enjoys going there,” says Mikaela. “When it comes time to leave mum there, I feel very confident.”

“She’s not as down; she’s more balanced. Staying at Waratah has brought her confidence back.”