Michelle’s short stays with Northcott feel like home
Long-term Wagga Wagga customer Michelle calls Northcott’s short-term respite house in Ashmont her “home away from home”. The bubbly woman is a regular customer of Northcott’s respite service, visiting monthly for week-long stays away from her family.
Michelle’s overnight stays with Northcott give her parents the chance to take a break from their caring role. During her visits, Michelle is able to develop her independence, while having fun and practicing her skills.
When we recently spoke to Michelle she had arrived at the Northcott house a few days earlier and was well and truly settled in, having decorated her bedroom with posters and other comforts brought from home.
“I like to come here. I like the house,” she says.
“I’ve brought my speaker, dock, charger, DVDs, posters, iPod and books. On the wall, I’ve put my colouring-in posters, a picture of me and Max the house dog, and a poster of Tommy Page from Full House,” she explains.
Kamen, Northcott Wagga Wagga’s Respite Manager, says that Michelle also brings wish lists to share with the support staff so they know what activities she would like to do and what she might like to eat during her stay.
For instance, this visit’s wish list of activities includes watching DVDs, reading books, playing on her iPad, swimming, cooking, bowling, shopping and playing on the computer. Her food wish list includes all of her favourites: Subway sandwiches, chicken, fish, wraps, strawberries, kiwi fruits, cherries, yoghurt, mayonnaise, and more!
Spending time with the other residents and the Northcott support workers who are on hand to assist the customers is also popular with Michelle. During this visit, there are two other customers staying with Michelle at the house.
“I’ve met them before and I’ve stayed with them,” Michelle says, adding that they all like to watch Home and Away and DVDs together.
While Michelle has a lot of fun staying with Northcott, spending time at the respite service also provides her with the opportunity to learn new skills and practice tasks she does regularly at home. During her visits, the Northcott support staff assist Michelle to prepare her own meals, do her washing, brush her hair and go shopping for groceries and food. Kamen says a focus of this year’s visits has been to support Michelle to learn to make healthy eating decisions so she can better manage her diabetes and look after herself.
With chicken and salad on the menu for dinner after we speak, Michelle is making healthier choices, while learning new recipes and skills along the way.
When asked why other people should think about staying at Northcott’s respite house, Michelle doesn’t need time to think of her answer.Without a moment’s hesitation, she says, “Because it’s fun! You can be with your friends and have fun!”
Think overnight stays are just for adults? Think again! Northcott offers opportunities for children to spend time away from their families in a safe and supported setting. Read about Max’s experience with our respite service for children in Roselands.
Northcott provides a range of accommodation options, from short stays through to permanent disability housing. Find out more about our Housing and Supported Independent Living service.