After living in hospitals, a rehabilitation centre and a nursing home for the first 2 years after my injury, I returned home to reside with my parents. My parents worked on a discharge plan to get me home from day one of the 16 months I lived in a nursing home. My family home needed to be renovated to suit my complex needs and many supports needed to be in place before I returned home. My family also had to learn to care for me. I required 24 hours support. I was granted 34 hours of supported care, so my parents did the other 134 hours of care per week. I can’t imagine how difficult this time was for my parents.
I lived with my parents from January 2004 until February 2016, when I moved into my own home, next door to my parents. Although I enjoyed living with my parents and my parents enjoyed having me living with them, it was recognised that it wasn't the best environment for me to continue my journey of learning to be as independent as possible.
When asked what my ideal living situation would be, the thing that was most important to me was being close to family and friends. Unfortunately, there were no real options for me regarding independent living. My parents had to engineer their own. They remortgaged their home and purchased the home next door to give me a chance at real independence. How amazing are they! My home when first purchased had been very neglected. I see the photos now of my home when it was first purchased and can't quite believe the state it was in. My memory is bad, but I definitely remember the atrocious smell!
A Current Affair ran a show after finding out about my situation asking for the help of the public to support my parents to renovate my home. After 16 months of amazing people coming together and donating their time and expertise, my home was renovated. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to these incredibly generous people. I have a photo book on my coffee table that reminds me everyday of all of them and what they did for me.
I love my home and I am learning great skills for independent living. I currently have support for most of my day and night. I appreciate all the support that is given to me and I try my very best in all I do to ensure the efforts everyone has put in are not in vein. I look forward to spending more independent time in my beautiful new home next year in 2017.