Kerry and Steven's story
For 40 years, Judith and Rudy cared for their daughter Kerry and son Steven, who both have cerebral palsy, without asking for assistance from respite or care organisations. They felt that no one else could provide the level of care they could at home and accepted that they would care for their children independently into old age.
Judith was admitted to hospital and the couple realised they needed to look beyond their capacity to care for Kerry and Steven, now aged 59.
“We had been looking after them for 60 years, but Rudy and I are now in our eighties. We didn’t want to send the twins into care…I was scared they would be split up because they have different needs and genders,” Judith said.
The family met Angela, a direct care worker for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA), when they were exploring respite services. Angela put the family in touch with Hume Community Housing, and with Angela’s support, the twins were able to move together from the family home to a purpose-built home in Southwest Sydney.
Designed and built in 2016 to platinum level Liveable Housing Design Guidelines, the Specialist Disability Accommodation home is central to the twins’ day service and close to the family home. It has been customised to meet the twins’ high-support needs and is staffed with familiar faces, many linked with CPA who worked closely with Hume to ensure the fitout was suitable. With their home and care services carefully coordinated, Rudy and Judith could ‘let go’ of the twins, knowing they were in safe hands.
“Before coming to Hume, Rudy and Judith did everything for their kids. They were completely self-sufficient. The only thing they were using regularly was the respite service where I worked,” Angela said.
Located in a friendly neighbourhood, Rudy and Judith appreciated how Hume values connected communities above all else. There are regular community gatherings and they visit regularly.
“I knew it would be hard to let go of my children. I thought they’d be lost without me—I was certainly lost without them. After walking through the Hume property, I felt comfortable in having them live there,” Judith said.
Angela continued, “This house is a home for the twins. It’s functional and purpose-built to their needs. We work with Hume to optimise its features to suit the twins’ evolving needs.
“We’re grateful to have found a property that they feel safe and comfortable in. We feel confident in having the twins live in this house which is the most important thing. Hume is so supportive and responsive,” Angela said.
The family had travelled domestically with the twins, but they had never taken a holiday on their own. They recently enjoyed a well-deserved break on a European river cruise which was “something we would never have considered if the twins were still at home,” Judith said.