- It’s okay to identify as disabled: Zoe
- Basketball, photography and more: How Charlie’s life ‘restarted’ through Mable
- Paralympics, arts and more: How Nick does what he loves with Mable
- Reviewing cafes for accessibility: How Ashlee is pursuing her passion
- Guitar, martial arts, yoga: Skills Nissa is learning with support through Mable
Sign up to have the latest news, articles and resources delivered to your inbox.
“I can’t believe such a lovely lady would do such a nice thing for me,” my father-in-law gushed over the phone. I sighed with relief. For the first time in weeks, I also relaxed.
Things were looking up.
They say every cloud has a silver lining. For my family, the discovery of Mable Last Minute during a crisis has been ours.
Let me explain. But first, a little background:
My mother-in-law, Helen, and her husband (who we call ‘Papa’) were visiting us three weeks ago, when Helen had a fall in our bathroom and had to be hospitalised.
Helen was told she’d fractured her leg and would need “at least six weeks” in a rehab facility. This was unfortunate for her, of course, but also for Papa, who lives with dementia. Helen is his sole carer.
Although we took him into our home, Papa was very disoriented and confused the first few nights he spent with us. He felt lost without his wife. For the next two weeks, Papa and I visited Helen in the hospital and did everything together, like shopping, housework and walking the kids to school.
It was nice and he eventually settled with us, but it was challenging for us. I couldn’t get much of my paid work done or be the present mum I wanted to be for my kids. I felt overwhelmed and stressed. I felt like I was dropping the ball on everything.
I also started to get a clear understanding of what my mother-in-law had been coping with. Caring for someone with dementia is relentless — and she’d been doing it without any outside-of-the-family support. She got a break when it suited us to visit, not when she needed it. The support wasn’t on her terms.
More bad luck
As my sister-in-law was overseas when the fall happened, she frantically looked into aged care respite for us. Unfortunately, she soon discovered that accessing aged care funding is not a ‘short-notice’ process.
To add to that, we had an interstate holiday booked. My husband and kids left and I stayed behind with Papa. I would fly up five days later once my sister-in-law returned and could take over caring for Papa.
But, as it happened, on the very day of my flight, she and her husband tested COVID-positive! Meanwhile, my husband fell quite ill while away. I felt torn. I wasn’t sure where I was needed more.
Thankfully my kind mum and dad, who Papa knows, offered to take him in. I got on the plane but I fretted. How long would they be able to manage?
Mable to the rescue
The next day, I signed up on Mable and posted an ad on Mable Last Minute. We needed to tee up some respite support for them as soon as possible.
Within less than half an hour, I received a reply from Rhea, a wonderful support worker on Mable, with over 22 years of experience working with people with dementia.
Rhea picked Papa up and not only took him to the hospital to visit Helen, but fetched some supplies my mother-in-law needed from the shops. She also took Papa out for a coffee. He came back overjoyed that such a “lovely lady had done such a lovely thing for me”. My parents greatly appreciated the break and Helen, the visit.
We booked Rhea again after that, and she was the lifesaver we all needed to get through that week. I could directly message her using the Mable app and approve support hours while away. It was too easy.
My parents ended up caring for Papa for six nights, but with support from Mable, this was nice. Papa helped them in the garden most days when he wasn’t visiting Helen. We also came back a little early from our holiday to relieve them.
My dear dad-in-law is now living with his daughter who is COVID-free but the great experience he’s had with a support worker on Mable has meant he and the family are keen to return to Mable again.
Sometimes good things can come from bad luck. A home care package is now being put in place to better support both Papa and Helen when she returns home. Support they can access on their terms through Mable — when they need it and how they need it.
Thank you Mable for saving the day!
About Mable Last Minute
The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to support supply, combined with increased demand for short notice and short-term jobs from both clients and support coordinators.
In response, Mable Last Minute was launched in April 2020 to support our community to receive consistent support. Through this initiative, Mable clients were able to book independent support workers on Mable to be available within as little as 4 hours.
Mable Last Minute recently won the 2022 Australian Good Design Awards in the Digital Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation. Learn more about the story behind Mable Last Minute and why it’s making a difference in the lives of older Australians and people with disability in Australia.
About the author
Lana Hallowes is a freelance writer and mum of two energetic boys. She loves writing for Mable and is a champion of inclusion, being hearing-impaired herself. When she isn’t working or mumming, she’s ignoring the washing pile and drinking too much coffee.