Rewarding a labour of love for a beloved mother

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The right support can go a long way in helping a person living with dementia and their carer to live an enriching life. Find out how Mercy Health’s community care workers are making a difference.

For the past few years, Soula Stylianou has been caring for her 82-year-old mum, Zenovia, who is living with advanced dementia and requires constant supervision. It is not easy, she admits, but she doesn’t mind at all. Soula sees this as her responsibility and last August she quit her job to take care of her mum full time.

“I love my mum and I want to take care of her,” says Soula. “She has done so much for the family especially after my dad died, so it is my job to take care of her now. I promised her I will take care of her and I will. I can’t be selfish.”

Soula’s husband and their two adult children who live with them help out as well, which makes her job much easier. “They help mum to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes they help her with her meals or watch her when I’m busy.

“We also get support from Mercy Health which has been wonderful. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to cope taking care of mum at home on my own.”

Woman assisting elderly mother

Soula Stylianou quit her job to take care of her mum, Zenovia, full time.

With formal care funded through a Level 4 Home Care Package, Zenovia’s services include respite, nursing assistance and various allied health services including podiatry. The twice weekly visits from community care workers — each lasting five hours — give Soula a much needed reprieve from her caregiving role.

“The community care workers are fantastic. They are compassionate and highly responsive,” says Soula. “Mum has advanced dementia and mostly mumbles in Greek. However, the community care workers have been able to take really good care of her because they know her needs, and they understand the care required to support someone living with dementia.”

Once, Soula rang her mum’s Care Advisor in the office but she wasn’t in. Soula’s requests were promptly attended to by other staff members, and she was grateful.

“It’s great being supported by a team that truly cares. It is very important to us — especially to me — that mum can continue to live at home, surrounded by family all the time. I want to look after mum the best I can, for as long as I can, and I am very thankful that the support I get from Mercy Health is making that possible.”

Last reviewed March 9, 2018.

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