Photo of Shirley (left) and Holly (right)

Holly Kiggins hasn’t always worked in an aged care role. The Wellbeing Manager, who has been with Feros Care for five years, initially worked for big finance firms as a client manager.

“And then my father-in-law very rapidly developed early onset Parkinson’s disease,” Holly says. “He was young, in his 60s. Over the course of 5 years, it just got worse, and he lost a lot of mobility and cognition.”

Holly and her husband packed up their lives and moved the family to Mexico to be her father-in-law's full-time carer. Ensuring that his quality of life remained high, despite the mobility and cognition issues, ignited her passion for helping the elderly; once the family had moved back to Australia, she secured a role with Feros Care.

Holly now assesses clients for government-funded Home Care Packages, working out what they want, what they need and what they might dream of – and makes it happen.

“I really love working with the team, they all support our clients really well and are also really supportive of each other,” she says. “We’re all very passionate about what we do, and we want to direct clients in the right way to get them what they need.”

What inspires Holly, day to day

Holly gets up in the morning to make a difference to people. Having seen the firsthand impacts on her father-in-law, she knows just how significant it is just to be there for people.

“I’ve made myself a staple in the local area now,” Holly admits. “If one of my clients has a fall and ends up in hospital, I’ll find out in 30 minutes. I always try to go that extra mile!”

Holly is especially big on advocating for her clients, especially if their health is declining and they may need a higher-level Home Care Package. Whether it’s mobility issues or a terminal illness, Holly is there to support regardless.

“We always ask ourselves, what can we do to give someone the best quality of life that they can have?” Holly adds.

The benefits of keeping people at home

Holly has seen the impacts of her work many times over. She gives the example of a client who had dementia-related Parkinson’s. Through the physiotherapy programs organised to help with his mobility, along with additional support, the client’s cognition score improved – a rare occurrence.

“His family said we did a fantastic job looking after him and keeping him at home,” Holly shares. “He was born and bred in Murwillumbah and absolutely loved to sit in his sun room, where he would look out onto a beautiful view of the mountains.”

Holly was instrumental in working through the client’s HCP to ensure he had everything he needed, including daily showers, as well as some social outings to offer his wife – his main carer – a break.

“His wife would call me and say that when he comes home from the social outings, he’s a different person, he’s talking!” Holly says. “With Parkinson's, one of the main symptoms is that they don’t talk a lot – they tend to be off in their own world. But every time he would come home, he would be talking about where he had been, what he had done!”

Holly’s top tip – consider what’s best for your individual circumstances

Holly ensures that each Home Care Package is tailored to suit the client, as everyone has a completely separate set of circumstances.

“I really focus on the individual and what would make their life better,” Holly says. “If I see that they love their garden, I’ll try to arrange help with the garden. Or if they need support with hairdressing, especially through lockdowns, I might get a mobile hairdresser out to see them.”

With everything from the Virtual Social Centre to the Let’s Get Technical programs on offer, people are often surprised by just how many possibilities there are.

“I often have clients saying to me, ‘I don’t know what we would do without you,” Holly says. “That’s everything to me – if you have the opportunity to help someone, taking that opportunity to keep them living as happily and comfortably as they can be.”

Click here to find out more about Home Care Packages or speak to our team of aged care experts today, call 1300 090 256.

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