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Restorative Care - A Primer

 
Only a few years ago if you received DHB subsidised home help and personal care the tasks were very clearly defined and woe betide you if your needs did not neatly fall into the boxes.  Home help or domestic assistance meant vacuuming, dusting and washing etc. and  did not include high dusting or window cleaning which was a real bug bear to those for whom these issues mattered. Personal care focused strictly on helping with showering and dressing and other personal matters.
 
The problem is that people do not neatly fit into boxes, so what is a major issue to one person does not even appear on the horizon for another.  Although personal hygiene matters to most of us, so too do other things such as catching up with a friend and dusting the furniture may be far less important than a walk in the garden.  
 
What a difference a few years can make. Thankfully, now there is a greater understanding of what enables people to age well and it is not just about the practical things. Having psychological, social and spiritual needs met too are important.
 
It is early days yet but in many areas of the country the issue of what constitutes home support is being redefined. People who are receiving support services are being encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves (with assistance as necessary) to say what sort of help they would find most beneficial and to set some goals and aim for them. This type of service is called restorative care (which is perhaps an unrealistic term in some situations) however the real power in it is, that it focuses on individual needs and it gives the person choice and a say in what happens next. When people have choice they feel much more in control of their situation, and being in control makes people feel better too. It does not mean you will get your high dusting done (you will probably have to pay for that yourself) but it does mean that the focus is shifting from the job to the person and that has got to be good for everyone.

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