When housemates become family

Apr 5, 2022 | News, Supported Independent Living

In 2002, John Howard was Australia’s Prime Minister, Kath and Kim premiered on the ABC, Steven Bradbury won our first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics, and the Euro became the official currency of 12 European countries.

More importantly, it was also the year that Cara Supported Independent Living customers Heather, Karyn and Leeann first began living together in Murray Bridge.

January marked their 20th anniversary as housemates and 20 years since joining Cara. When asked how she feels about Leeann and Heather, Karyn beams and breaks out in to a wide smile. Her answer says everything. “Family.”

The housemates have a friendship built on mutual respect and common interests.“Heather, Leeann and Karyn’s relationship works so well because of their ability to accept one another,” Cara Quality Service Manager Emma Hansen said.

“They have many things in common but they also have their own interests and they respect each other’s differences too.” Karyn says one of the trio’s favourite things to do together is to “go to the hotel” for lunch, especially the local Swanport Hotel, which they affectionately call “Swannies”.

“They like visiting restaurants, going out for coffee and cake, and bowling together. Leeann is also a big footy fan and attends games to support her beloved Adelaide Crows,” Emma says.

The housemates operate as a team when it comes to making decisions around their home and their weekly routines. “They work with each other and their staff to plan the household grocery shopping and make choices around their meals.” “When it comes to cooking, Karyn is a master recipe reader, Leeann loves to mix, and Heather (who is non-verbal) communicates with eyebrow raises and expressions. If a meal needs more salt or seasoning, Heather will let us know!”

In their time together, they have had just two other housemates – Cheryl, who has since passed away, and Danielle, who moved to Renmark to be closer to her family after 11 years living with the trio.Leeann, Heather and Karyn’s home is a warm and friendly environment.

“They are so welcoming of anyone who comes in to their home – from their staff to visitors,” Emma said.“They are happy and always laughing, they enjoy singing and having a dance. They really do see the lighter side of life.”

While the housemates have shared many happy memories and milestones together, they have also supported each other through hard times.

“Their empathy for each other is amazing. If one of them is unhappy or not feeling well they will always check in.“They genuinely care for, and love each other, like they would their own family.” Congratulations Heather, Karyn and Leeann on reaching this special milestone together!

If you’re interested in our Supported Independent Living service contact us via phone on 08 8347 4588, email welcome@cara.org.au or using our online form.

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