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20 Dec08 Oct
During the COVID-19 Pandemic the Y-House team met weekly with young people living in aged care via video calls. During many of these calls we identified young people living in aged care that would benefit from our COVID-19 Support Program. Each young person we identified was then gifted a Y-House COVID-19 Support Pack including an electronic tablet device to keep them connected with family, friends and support networks. During our calls we met the vibrant & vivacious Nguyet, a 57-year-old woman living in aged care.
Nguyet was easily one of the liveliest characters Y-House has ever had the pleasure of meeting and it is impossible to not smile from ear-to-ear when hanging out with her. Nguyet has been loving her time living in aged care and is an upbeat individual that views every day as a good day. Nguyet enjoys making friends with everyone in her aged care facility and essentially runs the show by keeping everything organised. After leaving school Nguyet entered the workforce and had a stellar 10-year career as a professional chef before having to move into aged care.
Nguyet has 4 children; 2 identical twin daughters in their 40s and 2 sons in their 30s. However, they haven’t been able to visit her due to the COVID lockdowns began and some have even moved quite far away now. Nguyet does not have her own personal computer or tablet and her face lit up at the prospect of receiving her own device so she can see her children at any given time. Nguyet also loves dancing and invited the Y-House team to go to shopping with her after lockdown. Such a lovely gesture!
Nguyet is the life of the party and was a wonderful recipient of our COVID-19 Support Program. Nguyet has been showing off her brand new tablet device to all of her friends since it arrived!Dec 20 - 2020
August 5th, 2020;
Kim & I met with a young woman named Jodie this afternoon via zoom and it was honestly one of the most enthralling meet & greets we’ve had with a young person (we chatted for 90 minutes!!!). Jodie, who is only 50, gave us a full rundown of how she found herself living in aged care and some of the miraculous recoveries she’s endured when doctors didn’t think she would make it. She has two teenage daughters who live locally, however sadly they have not been able to visit properly since the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. Jodie hasn’t had a mobile phone for years and her only form of contact is through her Samsung tablet device, which is now out-of-date and can no longer update the apps she uses. Jodie couldn’t be a more perfect candidate for the COVID-19 Response Campaign. Jodie loves knitting to pass the time, as well as watching cooking shows and playing games on her tablet device, when it was functioning properly of course. After meeting with Jodie we were keen to set a plan in place to get her a new tablet device as soon as possible.
September 16th, 2020;
Jodie’s package arrived today! She was thrilled to not only receive her gift, but also greatly appreciated the wrapping and the extra little gifts we lovingly fill each care package with.
October 2nd, 2020;
Today we caught up with Jodie to see how she was doing and how her new tablet device is working. Patty, one of our Y-Work team members, also joined on call and was able to meet Jodie for the first time. Jodie spoke about how it’s been really tough not being able to hug her two daughters since COVID lockdowns started. She found it emotionally too difficult to have her daughters visit outside her window because it felt truly impersonal and just isn’t the same. Thankfully, her new tablet device has been a fantastic addition, she says, “It’s great to be able to reliably connect with my family and be able to play games that help me destress”. Jodie was eager to join our Facebook group, Y-Connect, and we have since been chatting nearly every day, especially about our excitement around having both our teams in the footy finals race this year. We will hopefully now be able to keep in touch more frequently and Jodie is excited about the idea of connecting with other people who actually understand what it’s like to be in her position.Oct 08 - 2020
I first started at The Y-House Foundation Inc. in October of 2019. I was transitioning out of working in retail and was determined to pursue my true passion in life, which is not-for-profit work. I grew up in New York City where I became involved in volunteer work with student-run community service groups and the Ronald McDonald House of New York (RMDH).
My connection with RMDH had actually started many years earlier; I had lived there. My younger brother was battling a very rare form of childhood cancer and my family & I travelled from Australia to New York City for him to receive specialised treatment. As we had nowhere to live, RMDH offered my family a place to stay during these tough times. After moving out, I returned as a volunteer to help those going through similar circumstances.
This type of volunteering instilled my passion to help others because my family & I wouldn’t be where we are today without the help & kindness of complete strangers. If you can’t pay someone back, pay someone else forward.
When I first found out about the Y-Work program, I was genuinely shocked to discover approximately 6,000 young Australians had been forced to live in aged care. It didn’t make sense to me that this was happening, so I was quickly eager to join the Y-Work team because it was obvious we needed to improve the lives of these young people.
I was excited and a little nervous when I first started at Y-House. There were all these statistics about young people but no database detailing where they actually lived. Kim & I built the program from scratch by developing frameworks for program execution. Phase 1 was all about Inception & Planning. Kim has extensive experience in project management and harnessed that expertise to produce high quality frameworks to get the program up & running quickly and swiftly. The next step and biggest challenge in our eyes would be Phase II of our program – How to locate young people living in aged care.
Kim sought data from a variety of sources and pulled together a spreadsheet that listed out the locations and RACFs that were most likely to have young people living in them. I hit the jackpot on the very first call.
The RACF sitting on the top of that list was Glendale Aged Care and lo and behold we discovered a young person living there, a 45-year-old man named Nigel. Nigel expressed his interest to join the Y-Work program and we were quickly organising a meet and greet. Nigel is a humorous, sincere, determined young man who desires a better quality of life and is “sick of playing video games all day long”. A few weeks after our first session with Nigel, he unfortunately became quite ill and was admitted into hospital over the Christmas break. Everyone was concerned this might hinder Nigel’s participation, but he is too strong to let that stop him. We met with Nigel in the new year and after reassuring him that we will support him through any hiccups or hurdles, he became reinvigorated and decided to sign on as Y-Work’s very first official program participant.
We have now begun to execute Phase 3 of the Y-Work program: Fostering Employment, and yes, we have a framework for that too! We are now working alongside Nigel to surface up any areas of interest for employment and will soon begin building his CV and employer profiling. We have also identified a number of other young people looking to participate in the program.Jul 20 - 2020
April 3rd, 2020; The past few weeks have been uncertain at Y-House. Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown and resulting aged care visitation restrictions, some of our Y-Work deliverables have had to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. This is a shame because we were only a few weeks away from taking the exciting step of linking program participants with potential employers. Although this pause in momentum is frustrating, we wont let this deter us from assisting young people living in aged care.
Due to this recent shift, we have been brainstorming ideas as to how we can better support young people living in aged care during this time. It became very clear to us that the one thing everyone is lacking during these uncertain times, especially those living in aged care, is social engagement. We are already very aware of the fact that 26.1% of young people living in aged care die within their first year there. So it is more imperative than ever that we keep young people engaged with the outside world.
We have now launched Y-Connect; a private Facebook Group for all the young people living in aged care across Australia to connect & interact. Young people will be able to share their stories and experiences, as well as discover ways The Y-House Foundation can assist them with their daily lives. There are no other groups out there like Y-Connect and a lot of RACFs are quickly becoming supporters of this concept. The tricky part is navigating the COVID-19 storm as aged care facilities have a lot to manage right now and sometimes communicating with us is not their top priority. But we’re linking our current program participants with Y-Connect and will aim to do so with as many other young Australians living in aged care as possible.
The Y-Work Team will recommence Y-Work deliverables once it is safe and appropriate to do so.Jun 10 - 2020