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Beyond the Tide to find the YES

You haven’t dipped your toes in the water at the beach for decades. Long gone are the youthful days of sand and surf, afternoons with friends by the seaside, and a carefree attitude. Life threw you a curve ball in the shape of a life-changing accident and you haven’t walked since.

Alistair is friendly, funny, and a real “character”. He enjoys going to the pub, and recently celebrated his 60th birthday at the local with a hot meal and a few beers with his sister Wendy.

Before the NDIS came along, there were few options for young people like Alistair who required around the clock support. He spent many long years confined to a nursing home. A few years ago, Alistair moved into one of Unisson’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) homes on the Central Coast, which he shares with several housemates of similar age and backgrounds, and a devoted team of support workers. Al’s SIL support team, describe Alistair as “a fun bloke. He loves having a joke, in fact he’s constantly joking – almost pulling pranks on people. He will talk about himself and what he likes to do – usually with quite colourful language.”

With Alistair’s childhood and teenage years spent living in the Manly area and knowing his love for the surf, Unisson’s support team, together with his occupational therapist, have been looking to incorporate water activities back into Alistair’s life. With the assistance of an accessible beach chair from Surf Life Saving at Terrigal, and a hoist, the seemingly impossible recently became possible. On a beautiful December day, Alistair once again felt the sand and the fresh ocean water. Seeing and hearing the waves cascading around him, there was a certain glisten in his eyes, according to Unisson manager Deborah. She says, "Alistair has always had a dream to return to the water. Thanks to the determination of team leader Jennifer and support worker Elise, who spent hours collaborating with his support coordinator and his occupational therapist to find the “YES”, it happened. I wasn't going to miss sharing this!"

Alistair recalled the day with a cheeky smile and says his favourite memories were of “the water, the sand and a couple of women walking past!” The next step in his return to the water will be to float in the sea baths at The Entrance.

“Alistair has always had a dream to return to the water. I wasn't going to miss sharing this!” – Deborah

The team have done such a fantastic job in supporting Alistair with his goals and finding the YES in a situation that seemed impossible to him. When asked if he had any immediate goals he’d like to share with his support workers, Alistair took a moment to reflect before answering. “I’d like to get out more, go everywhere,” adding with a big smile “and go meet ladies – I can’t help it!” 

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