Close connections make a positive impact
Alfred Spiteri knows exactly when his favourite staff are coming to work. It’s a unique bond that is making a positive impact in his life.
“Alfred is such a happy person who loves to be supported by regular staff,” says Team Leader at Achieve Australia, Mel Cevik. “When he hears the voices of his favourite staff in the morning, he just roars with laughter!”
Receiving daily Supported Independent Living (SIL) services from Achieve Australia also helps Alfred’s family feel at ease knowing that he is getting the right supports. John Spiteri, Alfred’s brother, says that he has always been a happy and caring man who has had some challenges in his life.
“Fred’s a happy fella who always wants to help everybody,” says John. “He used to walk before so it’s hard for him being in a wheelchair now, but he does what he can. We are doing our best to keep him independent.”
It was 15 years ago when Alfred, who has an intellectual disability, injured his back. Following back surgery, he was then unable to walk. Today, a supportive and accessible home environment, together with a nurturing, loving family makes a real difference in his life.
“The staff are terrific at Achieve,” says John. “They are very caring and always let us know what is happening with Fred.” But during COVID the Spiteri family, like many others, have not been able to see their brother as much as they would like to.
“It’s been hard because we can’t go and see Fred, but we know the reasons for it and just want to keep everyone safe,” says John. “We’ve been calling Fred regularly and keeping in touch that way.”
Before COVID, Alfred would have regular visits with his family and was quite active. He liked to go for picnics, to the club, the movies and he also would do Holy Communion with his brother, John, every week.
Alfred also used to enjoy going to the community and lifestyle day programs at Achieve Australia’s Araluen hub to see his friends. But temporary closures to help keep everyone safe during COVID meant that staff were coming out to homes more often. The benefits of this change for Alfred surprised those working closely with him.
Social Educator, Khadga Mainali, found that the one-on-one support with Alfred helped him open up. “I used to work with Alfred at Araluen, but I found he became more talkative and opened up with me more at home. We were able to communicate and understand one another even better than before,” says Khadga.
As part of the My Life at Home program created during COVID, the pair have been enjoying things that Alfred loves to do such as arts and craft, music, accessibility programs on the iPAD, and walks in the garden.
Together with an engaging and safe home environment, Alfred can continue living a happy life where he shares a special connection with his loving family and supportive carers.