When it comes to music, Marlene is both passionate and gifted. She learnt to play the piano by ear and also plays the guitar, keyboard and sings in a band, so it is a good thing that she is surrounded by people who share and encourage her passion for music. “One of Marlene’s support workers belongs to the country music club with her. She is a very good friend of Marlene’s,” explains her sister Mary. “Often, my brothers come round and we jam together,” adds Marlene. “I’ve been playing for a long time.”
Marlene is 71 and now receives Enhanced Individualised Funding to meet her support needs and to provide her with assistance in reaching her goals.
“We have four staff, two family friends and two good friends of Marlene’s. We do between 27 and 30 hours with Marlene, depending on her needs in a particular week. We’ve got a close relationship with our support staff,“ says Mary.
“My daughter Tony, works closely with Marlene. She understands Marlene’s situation and her needs. Another staff member is from an agency that Marlene used to be with; she has stayed on and works closely with Marlene and her friends. They go on walks and have picnics together.”
It’s a system that works well for Marlene. “I’m happy because I’ve got my sister working with me and I’ve got my niece working with me and I got my two friends working with me,” she says.
A big benefit of Enhanced Individualised Funding is the flexibility it provides for Marlene and her family. “The hours around Marlene’s support are not rigid. We work on a roster, but if that roster needs to be moved, we are able to do it. It’s just so much easier,” says Mary. “We do things together and do things that Marlene wants to do, like gardening. Marlene loves flowers.”
“Before EIF, it was stressful. I didn’t feel like Marlene was getting proper support. Now all of that pressure is gone. It’s just amazing. We’re all so much happier.“