Words by Lynne Slevin, NDIS Coordinator

Located in Sydney’s inner west, Montrose Aged Care Centre in Balmain provides residential care services for vulnerable males living with various health concerns.

Around half of the residents at Montrose House have National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plans. These plans cover the cost of accommodation, support to access the community, access to allied health professionals and access to assistive technology.

The Salvation Army started providing NDIS support to Montrose residents in October 2018. Since then, we now have three NDIS Support Workers and a NDIS Support Coordinator working with residents at the Centre.

For many of the residents, they have been unable to access the community in a meaningful way for years. Having the one-on-one support, they are now able to rediscover and reconnect with the local community and explore other areas of interest. Something as simple as a coffee and a chat has brought the residents to life.

One of our NDIS Support Workers, Robyn, has shared her enjoyment in working with residents at Montrose.

“The main focus for us has been to be open, other centred, non-judgemental, friendly and a good listener with each individual,” she said.

“At first it seemed from their perspective there was some sceptical resistance regards our purpose and their best interests. But as some individuals chose

to adventure forth for a chat and a coffee up the street, they found out we only wanted to assist them to have more fun in life so word got back and circulated through Montrose that it was a good thing!”

Consequently, she’s witnessed some breakthroughs too.

“This transitioned to spontaneous changes in some individuals refusing engagement for a prolonged time and then overnight deciding to take the risk and accept the invite to go out the next day,” she said.

“Suddenly, walls and barriers can drop as an individual feels safe and valued. Some breakthroughs come after dialogue and mindsets are exchanged and discussed. Others are surprise responses after small snippets of conversation, invites and greetings over a prolonged time of daily familiarisation.

“Though the guys here do not speak too much with each other on a day to day basis, they do look out for each other and it seems we have earned their trust and rapport. It is our passion and hope that social acceptance, belonging and respect and value for each other may be a by-product of receiving that for themselves.”

So here are some great testimonies of our residents and their families who have shared their personal experience after receiving NDIS support.

Stewart

A long-time resident of Montrose, Stewart recently started receiving assistance from our NDIS Support Workers.

Stewart is a musician and has an amazing voice but has early onset dementia and an acquired brain injury.

On his first outing since receiving NDIS support, he went to see ‘Yesterday’ – a film based on music by The Beatles. His love for the movie was very evident as he sang along to all the songs. Afterward, he enjoyed lunch with another resident Peter at ‘The Fat Cook’ in Leichhardt.

We sent these photos to Stewart’s daughter, Jessica, and this was her response:

“Oh I am so happy. Dad looks so chuffed! Dad would have loved seeing that movie – what a great idea! Thanks for making Dad smile, this means so much to see!”

Phil

For 16 years, Phil has lived at Montrose. He has an acquired brain injury, mental health issues and other physical health concerns. So in the last year, his mobility has decreased and he is now dependent on a walking frame.

What Phil loves doing every day is to grab a coffee at the local shops in Balmain. But being dependent on a walking frame made this daily trip very tiring and sometimes hazardous.

To keep Phil as independent as possible, we have been working with the NDIS Support Workers and Occupational Therapists to get him a motorised scooter. Whilst he was initially hesitant, there’s no stopping him now. We also took him out to Centennial Park to feed the ducks and the swans. We shared this with Phil’s brother, David, who said:

“The NDIS Support Workers at Montrose have, in a sense, transformed Phil’s life by introducing him to a mobility scooter. It’s the kind of freedom he thought he might not experience again. Locally, Phil is quite a sociable person – he likes to talk and has created quite a network for himself. With the scooter, Phil has discovered a measure of independence that has enhanced his life and his attitudes. All of this targeted, attentive support is life-affirming – ‘care’ has been taken to a new level.”

Singh

For about seven years, Singh has lived at Montrose but has no family in Australia as they all live in the United States.

Singh became withdrawn and felt that his poor English was a barrier to participating in Centre-life since he also has an acquired brain injury, epilepsy and early onset dementia.

Even with the support of the staff at Montrose, Singh continued to leave the Centre and drink on a regular basis. But as our NDIS Support Workers starting working with Singh, he developed more self-confidence and has even stopped drinking. He now engages in outings and movies.

He also visited the Blue Mountains for the first time, so the trip was very exciting for him.

In another recent trip, Singh and another resident Thom went to Lane Cove National Park with NDIS Support Workers Robyn and Christine. They rented a paddle boat and had an overall fantastic time paddling down the river, followed by lunch at a café in the park.

NDIS

The NDIS provides Australians under 65, who have permanent and significant to disability, with funding for supports and services. Through the NDIS, people with disability are able to access information and connections to services in their communities. This includes doctors, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries and schools, as well as information about what support is provided by each state and territory government.

The Salvation Army Aged Care currently offers services to support people who qualify for the NDIS. After over 100 years of service in the community, we have developed strong connections with local services, therapies and recreational activities, enabling us to provide well-informed options to all of our customers.

We know how important it is to work together with people who understand you – that’s why we do our best to match NDIS support coordinators with clients according to common interests.

To find out how we can help you understand and access NDIS, please contact our NDIS coordinator on 02 9779 9489 or agedcare.enquiries@salvationarmy.org.au.