Annette has been a Catholic Healthcare client for the past seven years. Living in a lovely two-bedroom unit in Coffs Harbour close to her family, she enjoys spending lots of special time with her loved ones. But life hasn’t always been like this for Annette who spent nine years living alone in a motel in Woolgoolga with no driver’s license, no car, no public transport and feeling very isolated. Thanks to Catholic Healthcare life is very different now for Annette, and she couldn’t be happier.
Annette, a 59-year-old Indigenous woman, became Catholic Healthcare’s client through the Mental Health Respite Program in 2013 (Annette is pictured above with Melinda). Community Worker Team Leader and Administration Officer, Mid North Coast, Melinda Mahon said, “We provided respite for Annette’s daughter and carer, Shannon about seven years ago and then we continued to support Annette when she received a home care package.”
“At the time, Annette was living alone in a motel in Woolgoolga and Shannon was living 28 kilometres away in Coffs Harbour. It’s a fair distance to travel. With no car or public transport available, Annette felt quite isolated. Our Community Workers would pick up Annette and drive her down to Coffs so she could see her daughter and family. We would take her shopping and to her appointments. But mainly we would support her social needs which is very important especially in one’s senior years,” she adds.
“We recently helped Annette secure a unit in Coffs Harbour. She was on the waiting list for some time but has finally moved in and is comfortable. She now lives close to her family. We still provide her with services twice a week - transport, shopping and a bit of cleaning. It’s fantastic and she is so happy. We have made a huge difference to her life. She can stay in her own home and live more independently, living life to the full,” said Melinda.
As Team Leader, Melinda supports 22 Community Workers on the Mid North Coast NSW and three in south-east Queensland. She listens to clients’ needs and ensures everything is running smoothly like a well-oiled machine. The Coffs Harbour office supports over 70 Home Care clients ranging from those on a home care package and respite to fee for service. Community Workers travel from Dorrigo to Kempsey, and as far as Woolgoolga and Glenreagh.
Melinda is passionate about her role and has always wanted to give back to the community.
“I love what I do here and have been with Catholic Healthcare for seven years. I owned a bakery for 10 years and then wanted to do something with purpose. I completed my Certificate III and Diploma in Community Services and then applied for this role with Catholic Healthcare. I haven’t looked back. I love giving. I like putting a smile on a client’s face and knowing I have made a difference in their life, making it easier for them to stay independent in their own home, and being a voice for the Community Workers. That’s what motivates me.”