Connecting the elderly: 'Now I can get out and see the world again'
ELDERLY Mackay people are rejoicing over a new service that has come to town.
ComLink has amalgamated with HMT in Mackay to offer both home care and transport to all who need it. HMT previously offered only a transport service.
Mackay is the tenth centre ComLink has expanded to in recent months, and the move has already received a warm response from many new and old clients.
Evelyn Holt uses the service up to three times a week and says it was a life saver, and her only way to get out of the house.
"My husband died seven years ago and I can no longer drive. With all my medical needs I was really needing a way to get to and from places," she said.
"I can't get on and off public transport or walk such distances, so ComLink (and previously HTM) has been perfect for me.
"They take me to all my medical appointments. If I want to go to the hairdressers, lunch with the ladies, they are very caring they even help take my groceries to the door."
Northern Beaches client Puerida Blanchard used to use Comlink in Caloundra and was thrilled to see it start up in Mackay when she moved here.
"I have been using it for over a year because I started to lose confidence in my own driving. I use it to see my husband at the aged care facility twice a week," she said. "I get lonely sometimes and I check with Narelle when I can go out with them and do some activities.
"It's good for me so I can go out and see the world again. I've been trapped in the house long enough, now I can see my friends."
ComLink regional co-ordinator Narelle Jensen said the service aimed to keep the elderly at home for as long as they could be, out of aged care, and to prevent them from "becoming isolated and feeling neglected".
"It's important that their lives aren't just about going to medical appointments and coming home," she said. "They should have the freedom to get out and do the things they want, mingle with people and have a good time.
"We have about 800 clients now on our database and they all love the service."
Over 150 staff and volunteers work at ComLink throughout Queensland, with just seven in Mackay.
The first service of its kind began in Mackay over 30 years ago and was known as the Golden Years.
It since evolved into HACC Transport, then HTM and now ComLink, following the amalgamation.
Clients can also request various care packages including domestic, social and respite care.