Aunty Carol has lived through a cycle of giving and receiving
UPON having her family, Aunty Carol Mills developed a passion for helping vulnerable children access education.
Her work as an Aboriginal Education Assistant in Walgett and Tamworth involved her supporting parents to understand the education system, teachers to understand the students' needs, and ensured that children felt comfortable within their school.
Known to her family as 'The Joker' as she was always trying to make people laugh, Aunty Carol's life took an unexpected turn in October 2010 when she suffered a severe asthma attack and cardiac arrest.
The damage from the 15 minute loss of oxygen to her brain would take years to recover from.
Months of rehabilitation in hospital helped her to regain basic functions, such as walking and eating, and by the time she was discharged she could manage her activities of daily living independently.
By 2014, Aunty Carol had moved to Toormina to be closer to family and while she had greatly improved she still had her struggles. It was then that the Aboriginal Medical Service referred her to Carexcell Community Care for a home care package.
"Getting a package was the turning point in my life," Aunty Carol said.
The support Aunty Carol received from the Carexcell team brought her back from the emotional brink.
With regular drop-ins by staff and ongoing support, she started to improve.
"I've been blessed and met nothing but beautiful people," she said.
The services she has received have changed with her needs. At first she needed a lot of support to rebuild her emotional well-being.
"The girls were there to support me when I was down," she said.
Simple activities like getting out of her flat, going for a drive and having a chat made all the difference.
As she started to improve emotionally the other parts of her life also improved.
Her home was looking great and her health was improving due to better food choices and well-managed access to doctors and health professionals. Aunty Carol started going to the gym with staff!
The time had come for her to once again support vulnerable children. The team at Carexcell helped her to enrol in TAFE and she is currently studying a range of topics to gain the skills needed for today's workforce.
With support, she has commenced volunteering at a local kindy.
"Give kids the right support and a little bit of love and they can do anything" she said.
Aunty Carol's years of hard work to regain her independence and become a contributing member of the community was recognised on Thursday, March 16 at the annual Close the Gap Day ceremony.
She received the Doctor's Choice Award for the progress she has made with her health and emotional well-being.
Carexcell Community Care is honoured to work with people like Aunty Carol. Her passion to help others reinforces our commitment to older people in need.
To hear more stories like Aunty Carol's or to discuss your own needs, contact Carexcell on (02)66511649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.