NDIS funding has allowed Devonport mum, Anna Lee, to take back control over her life and move into her own home after spending seven months living in a nursing home.
At 50, Anna was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Knowing how her condition would physically affect her life, and how it was impacting her children, she reluctantly moved to a nursing home, knowing it would relieve them of what she knew would be consuming caring duties.
Now, in what she realises wasn’t the right environment for an intelligent and fiercely independent 53-year-old, Anna is thankful her MND case worker and an NDIS planner spoke to her about her living options and provided the supports she needed to move out into her own home.
“I only went into the nursing home for my kids,” Anna said. “I felt it wasn’t fair on them having to deal with my changing needs but now, with NDIS support, I can live my own life in my own home in a more age-appropriate environment with 24/7 care on site.
“The NDIS has also allowed me to research and choose who I want to work with, so I can make the most out of my plan. It’s also great to have access to funding to buy equipment as my needs change.”
Anna said living at Violet Place is vastly different from her former living environment.
“The NDIS hasn’t improved my life, it has given me life. Now, I am living, I’m not just existing,” she said.
“The scheme has allowed me to re-take control of my life. It has given me choices, privacy, peace and freedom.
“My kids can come and stay whenever they want without worrying they’re in the way. I can eat what I want, when I want and take as long as I want in the shower. It’s my idea of Heaven,” she said.
Prior to her MND diagnosis, Anna was a rigorously active mum of three.
“I was an avid gardener, always pottering around and planning my next big project,” she said.
“I couldn’t read enough books! I loved to cook, go for walks and tinker with my brother while he fixed cars. I was a bit of a tomboy,” she said with a smile.
“I was a teacher’s aide, working with high needs students. It was so much fun and extremely rewarding.
“I volunteered at the local Christian school, and at my son’s school, doing reading tests, and I cared for my Nan for two and a half years, before she went into care.
A true kind spirit, Anna also volunteered at Advocacy Tasmania and with the Red Cross’s Mates Program. She also took her garden tools, sprays and flowers to the local cemetery to tidy up children’s graves.
“I was always helping someone – family, friends, neighbours, when I could,” she said.
“I always had kids at my home. I called them my adoptees. I’d growl at them, we would all laugh and carry on silly but they all knew they had a safe place to come where they could get a feed, a bed, or advice. I miss that,” she said.
On an unpredictable path health wise, Anna is relieved she has now returned to a more familiar life in a much more suitable environment and she can make the most of her life.
As for advice to others about seeking support from the NDIS, Anna said, “If you get the opportunity to get your life back, make sure you grab hold of it and jump feet first.
“Don’t let fear hold you back,” she said. “Honestly, it will be the best gift you will ever give yourself!”