“I like to go there, I feel at home. We have coffee, sometimes I talk about my life a bit. This helps me a lot because I live alone.”
Betty, a public housing resident for 26 years, says cohealth has helped her in many ways, especially during the hardship of COVID, but the best thing is that they listen.
“When I need to talk to someone, they are waiting for me. Everybody has a different story and that’s what we want, someone to hear us.”
Born in Greece in 1945, Betty came to Australia aged just 17, immigrating with her aunt and uncle.
She has lived alone for many years, since the death of her husband, and says sometimes talking about the sad times in her life, such as the death of her baby boy, brings tears. But Betty says she is very happy to have someone to share this with.
Betty is able to access cohealth at her public housing complex, where the service is provided onsite as part of the High Risk Accommodation Response program (HRAR). She often drops in for a cuppa and a catch-up with the team.
cohealth community health nurse, Sally Plunkett, says Betty had struggled to access information about COVID and health in general. With no phone or computer, and living alone, she had also become socially isolated
One of the first challenges tackled by the cohealth team was supporting Betty to understand and comply with COVID rules, so that she could be out in the community.
Plunkett said the cohealth team became aware that Betty was unable to find her digital vaccination certificate, which further increased her isolation.
“She wasn’t able to access her vaccination certificate, so we helped her to print it out so that she could visit the places she wanted to go. We made sure we printed the certificate small enough to fit in her wallet and laminated it.”
The cohealth team also showed Betty how to use RATs and explained how to interpret the results.
Without a phone or reliable access to the internet, Betty was relying on printed material and occasional conversations for important health information and advice. Plunkett explains that cohealth was able to connect her with practical services that could help.
Plunkett says building connections with others has been a struggle for Betty, but with support the situation is improving.
“She’s even thinking about joining our Collingwood Wellness Walk, which will be great for meeting people and improving fitness.”
Betty has many kind words for the team at cohealth. “Sally is a fantastic human being, they are all wonderful and they help me a lot.”