For Paul Massart living at Crowle Estate, and for many people with disability, life during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions has been very different to before. These days Paul cannot do the things he loves like going to play Ten Pin Bowling at the local leagues club with his team, seeing his friends and attending his regular art program at Achieve.
Even though he cannot do everything he wants right now, Paul is keeping active through the new My Life at Home program and by going for walks to the nearby Meadowbank wharf. “I can’t go out much, but I am enjoying my time with Jim. We do activities at home like art and craft and I like to go for walks,” says Paul.
The new program was created when Achieve had to temporarily close three day program sites due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. The day program where Paul usually attends each week at Araluen in Epping now comes to his home where he receives one-on-one support from a Social Educator, Jim. As part of the program he is able to continue with his art and other new projects that are part of the weekly schedule.
“It’s important for Paul to have a daily routine and, at the start, we thought that the restrictions would be difficult for him, but he has been really happy and is keeping busy at home,” says Community Living Manager at Crowle Estate, Ruchika Mangla. “It’s great that he is able to continue with his art and he has also been cooking and doing craft projects.”
Both connection and keeping in touch with family has also been important during these times. “Paul regularly FaceTime’s his sister in New Zealand so they can keep in touch. With the greeting cards he has been making in the My Life at Home program, Paul has been sending these to her,” says Ruchika.
Paul’s cousin, Peter Tognetti, says that he feels reassured that Paul is getting the right supports. “I want Paul to always have the care he needs and to know that he is in good hands,” says Peter.
Previously, Paul lived in a group home setting which wasn’t right for him and so he moved into Crowle Estate in 2016. Today, while living independently in his own apartment, Paul receives supports to help him live freely, develop his skills at home, and to help build his confidence in social situations by making new friends.
“Staff are there to help Paul do things like shopping, laundry, washing the dishes and cleaning,” says Ruchika. “Paul has really improved since coming to Crowle, he is a happier person and able to do a lot more things than before.”
Paul agrees the support he receives helps him to live more independently than before. “I can manage preparing my breakfast now,” says Paul. “Having staff around to support helps me.”
Once COVID-19 restrictions start to ease, Paul is looking forward to getting back to his day program and his social sports with friends. “I want to go to Araluen and to bowling,” he says eagerly.