Friday, December 10, 2010

Georgina, Social Worker Par Excellence.

The Social Worker from the TCP Unit visited today, doing a follow-up to see if we had settled back home alright. Georgina is a Social Worker's template on how to be a helpful and caring client advocate. She is very welcome visitor.

Georgina was a godsend to us in a very difficult and emotional time. It was a pleasure to assisted by some-one with such understanding, empathy, humour and a drive to help her clients. Too often when dealing with the Aged Services sector all you hear is what cannot be done. Georgina's approach is "What can we do? Let's see if we can do that, there is nothing lost by trying even if we don't succeed."

In the first meeting we had with the care provider, the Unit's staff and the health professionals, I was surprised and delighted to find someone there who was seeing things from our perspective and ensuring that our point of view was heard. To have a social worker supporting us meant so much Aged care is a sector where, more than any I have encountered before, a top-down service provision is the norm. The client fits in, the service does not fit the client. It is difficult terrain to navigate.

To have a positive and supportive voice in that meeting and the ones that followed, and the assistance with difficult negotiations over home support services, was a life-line for both Arthur and myself. Georgina really made a difference.

I do not know if you are reading this, but if you are, thank you, Georgina.

Thank You Flower

Rain, rain, and more rain.

Rain falling and more rain falling. We have had one month's rainfall in one day.  The garden is glowing, the zuchinni is ripening and there is a cool breeze heavy with the scent of fallen rain. My red roses are going into a second flush and this time I will take a photo.

The long drought is broken. In the Eastern states there is flooding, with rivers and creeks long sluggish with scarce water, are now raging, and tragically taking lives. People trying the dangerous action of crossing fast flowing water courses have been drowned when their cars were swept away. Others have had there houses, business premises or crops, such as cherries, damaged by the water. The brave people of our emergency services are doing a wonderful job to help people in need. This includes many volunteers as well as emergency service professionals.

The water will certainly boost the river and dam levels and take the worry of low water levels away for a time. I am very happy with that. 

All this blessed water had had one negative effect, though.  The polls are showing an easing of general public's acceptance of anthropological global warming. More people than during the drought are saying they are not sure about climate change. As we have limited time to respond and need to take the scientists' advice on mitigating the effects of climate change, it would be a shame if we took the increased summer rain as a rain-check on action.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Volunteers. Our Friendly Visitor.

Arthur is to get a community visitor, a volunteer who will come and visit him for one hour a week, as part of the social inclusion program of the local council. The volunteer will be able to talk with Arthur. I am hoping that while the volunteer is here I can record some of Arthur's memories, such as his childhood in Brightlingsea, UK.  I tried it before with a video-camera but, although usually able to talk the hind leg off of a donkey, he was not very forth-coming. Maybe Arthur had stage fright.

Arthur had a lot of contact with the care-workers that came around, before he went into hospital this time. I quite looked forward to seeing them, too. One I got on with really well. After the hospital stay and the dust-up with his provider over decreased hours of services, we have a new agency and different workers. There are different ones every day and they are here for only 30 minutes a day. We hardly even know there names. When the care-workers provide your most social contact, you know you are getting isolated. "When the only friends you have are the ones paid to be your friends", was how some-one in the disability sector once described their life.

The friendly visitors scheme will help Arthur a bit, but I wonder about all the people he knew, all his friends from helping out at the local soccer club. I remember them saying thank you for all the hard work and how his offers of help were never tuned down, and their words of 'If ever you need anything, you only have to ask.'

I have left messages there and sent them details of Arthur's condition but I have had few return calls. Maybe there are all new people now who do not know him, and the people who did know him have just got on with their lives. Arthur loved that club.  He would be always out doing things especially looking after the players, as he was the Team Manager for 30 years. The Team Manager was the coach's assistant, the co-ordinator of everything to do with the team, their kit, keeping training and match-day records and organising the dressing rooms. In the 40-plus years as a member of the club and over 25 years as the team manager, Arthur knew everyone who played for the club in that time, along with many others in the SA soccer world, including coaches, committee people, volunteers and referees.

It has been said by many that Arthur was about the best volunteer that club ever had, along with another person about the same age who also did much work and important jobs about the club. I was very pleased when this other man had something in the club named after him. He did a lot of work for them. Both he and Arthur were made life members, but Arthur didn't get anything named after him. This, and the lack of any inquiries about Arthur,  has left me with a few hurt feelings on his behalf.   I once used to think that a lot of people would come to Arthur's funeral, but now I do not think so. I think he has been forgotten. But maybe it is just me being sad again.

I think I need a reason to smile

It is fitting though, that Arthur, who volunteered to do so much in his time has  younger volunteers to now help make his life a little happier.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Instant wave of Echidna cuteness, guaranteed. :)

Just because it so cute I just have to post this link to this twitpic. They say it is a hedgehog, but it would be an Echidna in Australia.

National Broadband Network. I want it now, now, YESTERDAY!

The internet is my saviour and the National Broadband Network cannot some soon enough.
With my internet connection I am linked into the outside world. I use it for all the things I cannot do, now that leaving the house is difficult. The new media has almost totally replaced the old media as my window to the world. I do not buy newspapers anymore but keep up to date online. For instance, my favourite current affairs discussion site is Crikey.

I hope the naysayers who are questioning our National Broadband Network wake up from their bronze-age dreaming and join the rest of Australia in 2010, where people are falling over themselves to get connected. The worst thing about the NBN is that some people will have to wait eight years to get it. Australia being so huge the task so enormous, it will take eight years to install all the fibre.

Here is a thought.

Can we have a poll to find out how many Australians would be willing to pay a social-democracy levy to reduce the roll-out time? How much would it cost to roll it out in four years instead of eight? I know I would willingly contribute to a fund bringing the social and economic benefits of the NBN to all Australians ASAP.  Even though at the moment I do not know if I am in the queue at year one or year eight, I would still be happy to contribute.

I do know that if I was buying a house right now, I really would want to know when the NBN was being connected before I chose a place to live.

Will I connect to the NBN?

In a heartbeat.