Nuala Williams never tires of hearing people’s stories, although she’s heard countless in her 20-plus years as a Community Care Advisor. Here at SCS she takes all the calls from people wanting guidance on community services for over-55s and elders.
“I love talking with and meeting people – hearing their stories – and then seeing the change the service makes to their lives. People can often forge ahead once they’ve got some information and an understanding of how things work. It’s extremely rewarding,” says Nuala.
Back in the ‘90s, Nuala arranged focus groups around Australia for research into what our elders thought about services for them. Later she became a community care advisor at North Ryde before joining SCS, where she’s helped many, many locals in the past eight years.
Nuala says her callers want to know their options and the best way to go forward in situations often involving a hospital discharge or dementia. She aims to help people and their family or carers be better informed, feel more confident and ‘in control’. Elders and their families want to know how the MyAgedCare gateway to services works, what supports they might be eligible for, and how assessments and referrals work. Sometimes elders are overwhelmed by a combination of their situation and trying to deal with a system that’s unfamiliar, or perhaps there’s a language barrier, and Nuala can get things started by making a few calls or write a letter on their behalf.
“Sometimes people are reluctant to ask for help. When they do accept help (for example, meals or fresh linen delivery), they find they can conserve energy for the things that matter most to them.”
It’s never too early to phone and ask questions, she says, because decisions are much easier if the options are already familiar, and people can discuss options with family and friends, and think about what works best. And it’s far better to decide without the pressure of a tight timeframe.
Community care advice can be provided in person at our Lane Cove or Hunters Hill offices, via email or in the home – or just call 9427 6425. SCS services include essentials from in-home nursing, podiatrists, meals deliveries, fresh linen and shopping services … to gardening and home modification work by reliable tradespeople. We also offer community connection through social activities and, as Nuala says, if you are connected with your community centre, you’ll become aware of many of our community services before you need them.