Your victories – big or small – are our victories at ARRCS’ ROST Respite House in Darwin. For ROST worker Fiona Stoddart, the biggest rewards come when the people who come here for respite care set goals and achieve them.
It’s a sign of independence, which we want to support you to maintain, whether your goal is small or large. Fiona says one lady has been able to again make her own tea and coffee since coming to ROST, which stands for Respite Options for Senior Territorians.
“We guide her and with supervision we have improved her quality of life,” she says.
Seeing people achieve even modest goals means Fiona leaves work with a smile on her face. “Every day is different and every morning I look forward to coming in,” she says.
The respite house is in a quiet street and is calm and harmonious, where people can spend time doing activities they choose. A family atmosphere has developed in this suburban home, complete with a back yard. Fiona and the rest of the staff know each person by name and how they most like to spend their time.
Fiona has spent many years as a Lifestyle Activities “Girl Friday” in aged care and she maintains a full calendar, including bringing in entertainers such as ukulele players and singers.
Meanwhile, respite visitors Dave and Trevlyn like to work on jigsaw puzzles together; sometimes Fiona or another staffer joins in: “They feel really great when they’ve done it, and I feel great too: mission accomplished. It may be a small thing to someone else, but it’s a huge thing. It’s a goal achieved, providing purpose, quality of life.”
Others prefer colouring in, reading the papers or filling in word puzzles in books. If you want to do something all you need do is ask – everyone is treated as an individual and the emphasis is on quality time.
As Fiona notes: “The Territory has its own unique way of doing things: the lifestyle is very laid back. Nobody’s in a rush.”
Another ROST worker, Linda Manhire, has been in Darwin since 1965 and is now looking after the parents of some of the kids she went to school with.
“I know them, their children and grandchildren. One lady was a teacher at my primary school and I grew up with all her children. We treat everyone as if they were their parents. It’s a family feeling that is important.”
There is a gentle, caring, ethos here. “We spoil them rotten sometimes, and they deserve it. They’ve done the hard yards,” Fiona says.
Some of our clients helped rebuild Darwin after Cyclone Tracy tore it apart in 1974. It’s still ‘old school’ here, with people looking after one another. There’s a great community spirit.
The respite house can accommodate up to 15 people and there are two overnight beds to provide emergency respite care. Two GPs visit regularly.
Find out more about ARRCS’ ROST Respite House Darwin.