Reclaiming dignity: A collaborative approach to support aging at home

The aged care system can be complex with some finding it more difficult than others to navigate. To help break down the barriers, WA Primary Health Alliance commissioned care finder service organisations to provide specialised assistance to people needing extra support to access aged care services. This group could otherwise fall through the cracks due to isolation, communication or cognitive issues, or a history of negative experiences with institutions or government.

Advocare, one of the 13 care finder service organisations in WA, supported Albert* a 66-year-old man at risk of eviction and homelessness related to a mental health condition that manifested as hoarding. The care finder service worked with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre and other mental health, community, and council services to develop a coordinated support plan.

Care finders - Advocare
Advocare team

“This is a mental health issue with so many people suffering and falling through the gaps. Fortunately, the council allowed time for us to work with the client to gain some control over his life and link him into the aged care services he needed. The client has worked very hard to manage changing long-standing behaviour, which was extremely difficult, with some outstanding results.” – St Patrick’s Community Support Centre

The tailored, coordinated approach led to significant improvements to his home environment, mental health, and allowed him to socially reintegrate. As a result, Albert continues to live independently at home with appropriate support services and commented that the program has significantly improved his quality of life.

“The care finder was understanding and caring of my situation. She was able to explain things to me and help to rectify the problems I was having and get the help I needed, I would have ended up homeless with nowhere to go. The program has changed my life and it’s much better now.”

Another case involved an 86-year-old individual with mobility challenges and no family support, who was living in concerning conditions due to hoarding tendencies. A care finder at Umbrella Multicultural Community Care was able to assist, securing a volunteer beekeeper to remove a bee infestation near her residence, and coordinating with local authorities and community resources to improve her living conditions.

Similarly, a 79-year-old man, experiencing significant grief and loss, social isolation, and difficulty making decisions, was referred to a care finder service. The service provided ongoing support, connecting him with social support programs, organising and accompanying him to medical appointments, and helping him manage his finances. The care finder also helped reconcile his relationship with his daughter and linked him with formal and informal support while living at home.

The care finders program is a shining example of how a collaborative approach can make a real difference in the lives of older Australians. By providing compassionate and personalised support, leveraging local resources, and advocating for the well-being of their clients, the program is helping many individuals reclaim their dignity and live their lives to the fullest.

To find a care finder service in your region, visit My Aged Care. For more information visit WA Primary Health Alliance’s Aged Care Program webpage or subscribe to Aged Care Connect.

This activity has been made possible through funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care under the Primary Health Network Program.


* In order to protect the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this article, names have been changed.