My Ability Pathway

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Michaels Story

Michaels Story

February 01, 2023

Michael is an introvert, a father of three who loves music, fixing cars, playing the guitar and spending time outdoors fishing and camping with his family. Michael was passionate about his hobby farm while engaged in a career that spanned over 30 years with the E&WS.

The day Michaels's daughter married, the family started to notice something different. Michael watched as his daughter walked down the aisle; he had forgotten he was there to give her away. It was after this time that subtle changes occurred. Michael was having short-term memory problems, making it difficult to maintain his employment. Simple things like remembering where the keys were and having difficulty with the depth of conversations started to become more apparent.

Michael was 58 years old. He went to the doctor, and they began investigating his symptoms. A referral to a neuropsychologist had Michael undergoing further tests, which resulted in the diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of Dementia, and it affects memory, thinking, and behaviour, which commonly progresses to affect daily activities and functions. However, most common amongst older adults (over 65), a small number have the early-onset form.

Over the next 12 months, the Alzheimer's disease progressed, and Michaels's capacity to care for himself began to diminish. The ability to drive and manage his care and cooking, which he loved, had become more challenging, and Michael could no longer work, creating additional financial pressures. Eventually, the NDIS granted funding, and Support Coordinator Barbara Lightburn started to work with the family to get services in place. The stress had already taken its toll on Michaels's relationship and significantly impacted his family's support.

Michaels's family and Support Coordinator were trying to find a service provider to give him the support needed and quality of life in a climate that was becoming increasingly difficult due to Covid-19. Due to complications of Dementia which included incontinence, difficulty with speech, mood swings and confusion, Michael was hospitalised, but beds were limited. Michael was determined to become homeless, and the stress on his family was unimaginable.

Support Coordinator Barbara Lightburn worked tirelessly to find a disability support provider that could give Michael the security of a home, with the support he needed and the opportunities for quality of life. With the ongoing pressure from the hospital for Michaels's discharge, Barbara decided to build a support service that could meet his needs.

Michael was discharged from the hospital into the disability support service My Ability Pathway, founded by Barbara Lightburn. Michael now spends his days working in his garden, going for walks, catching up with his family and is supported by a team of professional support staff. Michaels's family now have peace of mind knowing he is getting the support he needs in a home where he can experience a
fulfilling life.



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