Wagga grandmother battling cancer fights for home help

HOME HELP: Charmaine Garrod is appealing for help with home maintenance after a long wait for a home care package. Picture: Les Smith

HOME HELP: Charmaine Garrod is appealing for help with home maintenance after a long wait for a home care package. Picture: Les Smith

Wagga grandmother Charmaine Garrod has been fighting for home help for more than a year and is ready to give up. 

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2013, Mrs Garrod has been struggling to keep up with her home maintenance for several years. 

With nowhere to turn and a lack of support, Mrs Garrod applied for a federal government home care package which helps the elderly live independently, in June 2016.  

She was granted just two hours home care. 

Mrs Garrod’s condition soon worsened and she was advised by medical staff to seek more help. 

Approved for a level four high needs home care package earlier this year, Mrs Garrod has been tearing her hair out waiting for help to arrive. 

“When you’re used to your home being kept nicely it’s hard to have to ask for help,” Mrs Garrod said. 

“I was OK for a year but then my cancer started to spread, all the chores add up and it's hard to live with.” 

The maintenance issues have caused Mrs Garrod unnecessary stress, as she undergoes her monthly chemotherapy. 

“It does get you down a bit,” Mrs Garrod said. 

“My brain wants to do the work but my body just won’t allow it, I simply don’t have the strength.” 

Mrs Garrod said she is at her wits end reaching out for support, concerned for others who may need home support. 

“I get upset when I think about it because I think what have I done to deserve this,” Mrs Garrod said. 

“I am not asking for anything that I’m not entitled to.

“They’re advertising this right across NSW and here is Wagga, a big city with no help.”

A spokesperson for Australian Unity confirmed Mrs Garrod had sought to upgrade her home assistance, but claimed she turned down a level four package. 

“Due to government reforms to home care packages in late February 2017, it is possible another provider contacted Mrs Garrod, or the letter came from My Aged Care directly. 

“Australian Unity would be more than happy to work with Mrs Garrod to determine the appropriate level of care and services available to her.” 

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