Watching his grandchildren play on Busselton Beach and helping them sneak all kinds of treats into Bunbury Farmers’ Markets trolley was a dream come true for Nunziato, who with the preceding support of the Juniper Home Care team was able to holiday down south with his beloved family.

When the grandchildren invited their Nonna and Nonno for a four-day trip to Dunsborough, Connie was overjoyed to be able to emphatically say yes for herself and husband, Nunziato.

“Four months ago there was no way Nunziato would have been able to make the trip with his mobility and he had to rely on me to do everything. With four months of support from Juniper it meant we could do the trip and he could still feel part of the family,” Connie said.

Four years ago, Nunziato was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after years of symptoms, including difficulty walking, swallowing, and breathing. Connie had taken on the role of sole carer, but over time and with increased pressure, became “frazzled”.

“I went to see my doctor and he got the ball rolling. He could see how taxing it was on me as I was doing everything for Nunziato and myself,” she said.

Connie organised a visit from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) through MyAgedCare and Nunziato was awarded the highest level four Home Care Package to meet his needs.

Connie and Nunziato selected Juniper as their Home Care Package provider with Nunziato receiving home visits from Juniper’s Physiotherapist, Therapy Assistant, Domestic Assistant and a Community Support Worker.

“Now Juniper are like family – they are superb,” Connie said.

Physiotherapy and Occupation Therapy working on posture, balance, co-ordination, strength and movement has allowed Nunziato to carry out much of his own self-care, allowing him to become more self-reliant.

“Juniper physiotherapist Divya is so lovely and her finding a suitable walker for Nunziato has been fantastic for him. Nunziato is now able to walk further, and he feel so much safer. He has been able to become more involved with activities as he is much more easily able to move around and can rest when needed,” Connie said.

“There’s that social connection too. I hear Nunziato laughing with the physio the whole time. Our Juniper Therapy Assistant Rhys is an angel and has been a godsend. My husband Nunziato enjoys his company and I always hear them having a good laugh.”

Along with the “really wonderful” domestic assistance for two hours a week, it has allowed Connie to be able to continue doing activities she loves too.

“Nunziato and I can go watch the kids play soccer, cricket and basketball and do the occasional school pick-up. I also now have time and energy for a bit of relaxation where I do my sewing and crafts,” Connie said.

It also means Connie, accompanied by Nunziato, can continue volunteering with Feed it Forward Inc, collecting rescued food from food donors and supermarkets and distributing to the local school and community for those in need.

“It’s important we give back to the community. We’ve been blessed. Even though Nunziato has Parkinson’s, there’s lots of people worse off and dealing with a lot worse. This volunteering allows me to give back a little,” Connie said.

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