As a capable and creative man, Henry Kelaita found himself feeling isolated and limited in terms of his independence whilst living within a nursing home, sharing a room with five other individuals.
However, with the support of Unisson, Henry has been able to transition into a home that feels truly his through Unisson's Shared Living Accommodation. Henry now lives with a flatmate in a two-bedroom unit on the Central Coast and, as a result, his independence and ties to the local community have flourished.
While living at the nursing home, Henry was not accessing the community and felt very limited in his opporunities for choice and control over his own life. One of Henry's key Unisson support workers, Tony, began working with Henry and assisted him to access the community and rebuild his independence.
"Living in his new home has given him the opportunity to get out and participate in his local community so much more than when he was in the nursing home. Henry especially loves being involved with the Erina Men's Shed," says Toni. "He gets to socialise with everyone there, form bonds with other men, and he's found a real passion for hand-crafting pens and other woodwork on the machinery."
The secretary of the Erina Men's Shed, Bob, says that having Henry involved in their local community and participating in woodwork each week is a win-win for everyone involved. "We love having Henry with us at Erina Men's Shed," says Bob. "Seeing Henry slowly but surely open up to the other men and feel comfortable has been a real privilege, and all the guys love having him around."
The change that Tony has seen in Henry throughout his transition has been immense. "I've definitely seen a significant change in Henry and his demeanour since we started working together and accessing the community," she says.
Henry is now more free and independent to do what he wants, and to be the person he wants to be. He now does his own grocery shopping, participates in cooking his own food, and he is thriving living with a housemate."
For Henry, he could not be happier when it comes to his new living arrangement, "It's very good. I like having my own room and the freedom to choose what I want to do or what I want to eat," he says. "I have gotten used to everyone here and it really feels like my new home. It is good living with my housemate, Jim. He even lets me play games on his computer when he isn't using it."
However, the connections Henry has made in his local community and, in particular, at the Erina Men's Shed are the real highlight for Henry.
"I really love going to the Men's Shed. I like making pens and I enjoy being creative and using my hands to make things," he says.
With his independence and creativity now in full force, Henry looks forward to continuing to live in his unit and accessing his local community for many more years to come.