Andrew, who is 49 years old, has been living in aged care in Tasmania for 4 years.
How did you end up in aged care?
I’ve got MS and I had a fall which put me in hospital for a while. I ended up going from there into aged care because there was no other place to go. Before MS affected me I used to work in the floor covering industry, coach soccer, go fishing and do all those sorts of things. I was a hard worker.
How would you like your life to look now?
Ideally I’d like to be in a house that was suitable for myself and also suitable for my wife and kids – like a 3-bedroom home with a ceiling track to get me to the bathroom. That’s about all I’d need as long as the doorways were wider. That would improve my life immensely because one of the biggest hurdles is not living with my family.
It would build my spirits heaps just being around my family, being able to say goodnight to everybody as they were going off to bed instead of that phone call to the wife of a night, saying tell everyone I said goodnight.
What are the barriers that stop you leaving aged care?
The biggest obstacle is that there are just share houses available at the moment – and that’s not what I want. I don’t want to live in a group home.
Unfortunately I didn’t own a house – I was in a rental property so I couldn’t make any modifications. All I need is a 3 bedroom wheelchair accessible house with a ceiling hoist to be able to still live with my family…
No one can pull a wheelchair friendly home out of the sky and say here you go, but wouldn’t it be lovely!
What is day-to-day life like for you in aged care?
Living in aged care is not a real nice environment. The hardest part is actually facing all the death. There are some that have passed on that I have been quite close to.
I don’t really fit in with all their scheduled stuff – they play a lot of bingo, they do floral arrangements and stuff that’s there for the older generation. Living in aged care is not really suitable for young ones like myself.