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Taking her health into her own hands

Merle Stephen has been fiercely independent her whole life so it isn’t surprising that the 85-year-old takes responsibility for her own health and seeks to improve it with the help of Feros Care

“You have to be proactive if you want to be independent,” says Merle.

“I live on my own and I’m responsible if anything happens so I wear an alarm around my neck in case of falls and I enrolled in a program to improve my health.”

Merle completed an eight-week, government-funded program called Short Term Restorative Care (STRC).


Facilitated by Feros Care, the STRC program is designed to assist people recovering from injury or illness or for those like Merle who are looking to increase their overall health and fitness.

Seniors connect with a Wellbeing Manager who works with them to understand pain points and concerns, and develop a program that is delivered by a variety of allied health professionals.


Merle, who cared for her elderly parents in their final years, learnt the hard way about illness and deconditioning.

Her father died of cancer and her mother had debilitating osteoarthritis, which ultimately meant she had to be cared for in a nursing home.

Merle also suffers with osteoarthritis and doesn’t want to go down the same path.

“I realise now that I didn’t make my mother do things I should have – like walking and exercise – because I was too busy caring for my father,” says Merle.

“I inherited my independence from my mother but unfortunately illness took hers away and I don’t want the same thing to happen to me.

Older lady in white smiling at camera indoors

Merle Stephen


“I enrolled in the program because I wanted a little bit extra ‘TLC’. I wanted to work out what I could and couldn’t do, and to lose some weight.

“I was very happy with the program and it was great to have someone to talk to and guide me.

“Above all it got me motivated. It’s great for anybody who wants a bit of encouragement to do things and improve their health. It’s the motivation I needed to get going.”


Having completed her STRC program two years ago, Merle continues to successfully manage her weight and still has the podiatrist-prescribed shoes and TENS machine she acquired through the program.

Merle says although the exercises she was given were simple, she’s become ‘a bit lazy’ and would like to do the program again for some extra support and encouragement.

She says without the STRC and her Home Care Package, it wouldn’t be long before she needed to go into an aged care facility.

“I wouldn’t have the same confidence to stay on my own if I didn’t have the support from Feros Care and my personal alarm,” she says.

“I’d like to do the program again and I’m also thinking of getting some physiotherapy added to my Home Care Package to help keep me healthy at home.

“I remember the massage from the physio that was part of the restorative program – that was the icing on the cake. I really enjoyed that and think it would benefit me to have it more often.”


Merle switched to Feros Care from her previous Home Care provider after some issues around consistency of care and standard of work.

She says making the switch was easy and she would recommend Feros Care to others.

“I have found the Feros Care workers very good and I’m happy with them so I won’t be changing providers again,” she says.

“I like the consistency and support from Feros Care – I always know who’s coming and it’s usually the same person so I don’t have to keep telling them where everything is.

“It’s nice to have a familiar face come weekly who can just get on with the task without my input or supervision.”

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