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Back into the Garden with CentacareCQ

17 August, 2021
Elaine Stanger and her daughter (and full-time carer) Fe are grateful for the support they have received from CentacareCQ to help Elaine gain more confidence and independence.

With the help of her dedicated case manager, Elaine has gained more strength, mobility, independence and new confidence in her life.

Elaine with her beloved lorikeets

As Elaine Stanger unwinds in her garden every afternoon, lorikeets dance across her wheelie walker as she feeds them. It’s her favourite time of the day when she can bask in the beauty of her garden outside while she spends quality family time with her daughter Fe Stanger and her daughter’s partner Tony Field.

But it wasn’t always like this. Four months ago, Elaine struggled with her mobility and had difficulty performing the simplest of tasks. Thanks to her dedicated case manager Michelle Swannell and CentacareCQ’s wide range of services, Elaine has gained more strength, mobility, independence and new confidence in her life and she could not be happier.

Improvement in movement

An avid gardener, Elaine particularly enjoys spending time in her garden tending to her plants. However with her mobility diminishing she was unable to enjoy such things.

“I had a lot of trouble moving around the house. I’d use a wheelchair most of the time to get around,” Elaine said.

Elaine’s daughter Fe, who is also her full-time carer, said about four months ago, Elaine’s case manager Michelle implemented regular weekly physio sessions as part of Elaine’s Home Care Package.

“The aim was to build Elaine’s strength and mobility back up,” Fe says. “She improved in a matter of weeks.”

As Elaine’s mobility improved, she opted to use her wheelie walker more often, giving her more access around the home and her beloved garden.

She also spoke to Michelle about having one of her garden beds raised so that she could enjoy watering and tending to them with her newfound independence.

CentacareCQ’s contractors were more than happy to help, constructing two wooden garden bed boxes for her.

“I enjoy being outside in my garden a lot, it’s so peaceful and relaxing. One of my most enjoyable past times is hanging out under the marquee enjoying a coffee and a chat with Fe’s partner Tony – he’s always up for coffee and a chat.”

A-Hoy Social Group Sessions

Elaine’s weekly physio sessions have also given her the ability to attend regular CentacareCQ social groups.

“Tuesday morning Hoy sessions are where it’s at,” Elaine said, poorly hiding her competitive streak with a cheeky smile.

“Social groups are lovely. On one trip to Mount Larcom, I won 3 Hoy Games – it was wonderful!”

Respite to the Rescue

Fe has been Elaine’s dedicated carer for the past 10 years.

“It’s a beautiful thing for us to be able to share moments like these as a family,” Fe said showing a photograph of Elaine smiling while feeding the lorikeets resting on her hand.

While the time Fe gets to spend with her mother is precious, being a full-time carer can take its toll.

In desperate need of respite, Fe approached Elaine’s case manager Michelle to see if CentacareCQ could assist.

“We’ve never had a case manager quite like Michelle. Having her in our lives has made an incredible difference,” Fe said.

“With permission from her manager, she was able to step in and provide respite care for mum while I could take a much-needed break. Michelle helped with breakfast, dressing, domestic assistance and other services to help mum in the time that I was away. I could step away and take time to recharge – I didn’t have to worry about mum, as I knew she was in great hands.”

Michelle, who has been a CentacareCQ case manager for 14 months, said there was no greater reward than to see happiness shine in her client’s and carer’s faces.

“It’s wonderful to see the change in Elaine’s life. From improving her mobility with physio, to improving her confidence with social interaction from our group activities, being able to provide the necessary respite care and other support services to give relief when it was needed most is just a wonderful thing,” Michelle said.

About CentacareCQ

CentacareCQ is the longest running not-for-profit social services organisation in Central Queensland, providing professional community services for over 45 years. CentacareCQ works to encourage and strengthen individuals, couples and families, through our broad range of services that include aged care and disability support, counselling, and family and community support and education. For more information, visit