She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating neurological disease that over time, has left her in permanent need of round the clock care. As a single Mum caring for her young son and her care needs increasing, Hazel began to research her future options.
“I had to try and work out: what am I going to do? Where is this going to take me? What happens when my health gets worse?” But in the search, Hazel made a startling discovery. She realised, “I may have to go into an aged care home because there is nothing out there. It made me feel like I had no other choice, that I had nowhere else to go. It made me feel down and depressed with the thought that this is reality – and I didn’t want to go there. I needed something else where I didn’t lose my individuality and I could be my own person. That’s where Youngcare came in”
At that time, Youngcare had just completed the first ever Youngcare Apartments in Brisbane, offering everything a young person requiring round the clock care needs to live a young life filled with hope, possibility and dignified care.
Thankfully now, Hazel is a resident with her very own state of the art, purpose built Youngcare Apartment and living the kind of life that every young person deserves. Hazel is also benefiting from a uniquemodel of 24 hour care at the apartments courtesy of Youngcare’s partner Wesley Mission Brisbane. “The type of care is very good. The staff are wonderful. The way they treat you. They know how to respect you and your wishes which is really good.”
The issues faced by young people just like Hazel, their families and carers are complex and far reaching. Shockingly, studies suggest that 44% of young people in aged care homes received a visit from friends less than once a year, 21% went outside the home less than once a month and 34% almost never participated in community activities such as shopping. Studies have also proven an increase in the incidence of depression.
And there is also a more profound truth in this problem with the crisis extending into the family. Hazel agrees, “I know my Mum and Dad care extensively and it would have been extremely depressing for them to know that their little girl was in an aged care home while they were fighting fit. Mum and Dad realise how hard it would have been and understand that Youngcare was the best choice for me.
If the Youngcare Apartments didn’t exist I’d be more sheltered. I’d feel isolated. I’d feel that I was all on my own, that nobody cared.” Thankfully, it is because others cared, that Hazel along with 16 other young people now have a new lease on life.
But there are still many others that are not as fortunate. Over 6,500 young people are living in aged care around the country, with a further 720,000 facing the prospect of having to do so.
Aged care offers the type of care that is designed for the end of someone’s life, where the average age is 83 and life expectancy is only 2 years.
There are many that urgently need help and Youngcare has vowed to provide hope, possibilities and dignified care for every young person who needs it. But it’s a big job and Youngcare is only made possible through the combined support of the community, business and government. Only with their continued support can Youngcare can create more awareness and positive, lasting change in the lives of thousands of young people.
And now, Hazel is urging others to join the fight. “It’s changed my world. It’s made it more positive for me. And more apartments need to be set up around Australia and if anybody who’s out there can support, please support.”