When Michelle turned twenty-one, her eyes became sensitive to bright lights. Over time, Michelle found it difficult to focus her eyesight in dark rooms and see objects at a distance, particularly outside during night time.
Michelle underwent a lengthy eye testing process to discover what was causing issues with her eyes. After months of testing and consultation, Michelle was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. This involves rare diseases that damage the retina’s light-sensitive cells, causing vision to fade.
Michelle gradually made changes to her lifestyle as her eyesight deteriorated; this included voluntarily giving up her driver’s licence.
Prior to her disability, Michelle lived an outgoing and social lifestyle. She began her career in the hospitality industry as a kitchen hand, working in cafes and hotels.
Several years later, Michelle wanted a rewarding career change, and began working as a cleaner in the aged care sector. Michelle enjoyed interacting with the residents of the aged care home where she worked. The residents would look forward to seeing Michelle and spending time with her to talk to brighten their day. By the end of each shift, Michelle would sit with the residents to keep them company, sharing stories of the past and bringing smiles to their faces.
At the age of 53, Michelle had to retire when she was declared legally blind. Today, Michelle has 30% of her vision; she describes it as “looking through a tunnel each day.”
Upon commencing services with Enhanced Lifestyles, Michelle wanted to maintain her independence and continue pursuing a social lifestyle. She is actively involved with customer engagement activities and receives support to attend these.
Through these activities, she’s formed a close friendship with another customer of Enhanced Lifestyles. The two of them organise monthly catchups with one another and their Lifestyle Attendants to go out for a meal or explore the community together.
A recent highlight of Michelle’s was her holiday to Queensland in October 2021. Michelle’s Support Coordinator arranged for a support worker in Queensland to assist Michelle with daily living activities and accessing the community.
Looking ahead, Michelle wants to remain actively involved with her community by volunteering in an aged care home. There she’ll provide support to residents on a social level, reconnecting with her passion from previously working in the sector.
Enhanced Lifestyles will continue to support Michelle in exploring her hobbies and interests to maintain independence and thrive in life.