Thanks to Rural Lifestyle Options Australia, Luigi is back in control of his life!
Luigi’s journey with Rural Lifestyle Options Australia began in 2018, when he commenced Support Coordination services with us, funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. From early conversations with his Support Coordinator, it was quickly realised that Luigi was very unhappy with his current living situation.
For the past four years he had been living in an aged care facility, where his choice and control was severely limited, which was slowly impacting his quality of life. A regular day would see Luigi spending the majority of his time spent in his room watching television and reading the dictionary. He would eat all his meals in the hospital room and would only leave it three times a day to go outside to smoke a cigarette, unless he had community activities planned.
At the beginning of 2020, after multiple discussions with Rural Lifestyle Options Australia about what would be possible for Luigi under the NDIS, his new plan was approved to build his capacity to leave aged care with the view to transition into a Supported Independent Living arrangement.
Once Luigi’s new plan had been given the green light, our dedicated staff got to work, exploring options for the home Luigi had been dreaming of for the past four years. His expectations for a new home were modest. At just 63 years old and as a proud Italian man, Luigi knows what he is about. He takes refuge in life’s simple pleasures such as being outdoors, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and his brief for his new home needed to accommodate to all three. He didn’t mind where he lived as long as he could have his own private space outdoors, where he could drink a coffee and smoke a cigarette.
Unfortunately, plans for Luigi to move out of his current living situation were delayed by COVID-19. The virus made rental viewings more complicated than usual, but our committed Service Delivery Team knew it was in Luigi’s best interests to get him out of his current living arrangement as soon as possible.
Luckily, we had a vacancy to support Luigi at our Emerald House Respite Retreat which he was happy to transition to, as a short term measure. This eased pressures on our Service Delivery Team and gave them more time to continue their search to find a new home for Luigi. Toward the end of the Financial Year, Luigi received the news he had been waiting for when his rental application had come back approved. To celebrate, Luigi decided to go out to lunch at an Italian Restaurant where he ordered his favourite dish, Spaghetti Marinara, after disclosing it had been over 10 years since he had gone out to a restaurant for a meal. Today, Luigi lives in a beautiful two bedroom apartment overlooking the water in a boutique bayside community in Gold Coast, Queensland.
He enjoys the company of his Lifestyle Support Workers and is loving exploring his new area and all the new amenities that are available to him. Since moving into his new home, Luigi has been enjoying rediscovering his love of fishing and visiting the local library.
He was recently reunited with his mother Stella, who he had not seen for over 8 years (pictured below). Now that Luigi is in his new unit, they are now a mere 10 minutes away from one another, making regular visits easier than ever. During their meeting, Stella spoke of Luigi’s childhood and shared that when Luigi was younger all the girls wanted to marry him! She also spoke about Luigi’s love of Kung Fu and Bruce Lee movies, which he still watches regularly to this day.
After a tumultuous journey, as an organisation we are proud of how much Luigi has accomplished this Financial Year. Service Manager Kara Marks worked closely with Luigi to support him in bringing his dream of a Supported Independent Living arrangement into fruition stating that “To finally see Luigi happy and thriving in a community of his choice is inspiring. Here you have a gentleman who was not content in his current living situation and who knew in his heart that it needed to change. He just didn’t know what steps he needed to take to make it happen. This is where our Service Delivery Team stepped in, to let Luigi know that there were options out there for him, and then we went out there and made it happen.”
As time goes on, he has continued to open up to his team of dedicated staff, which indicates that he is starting to feel really comfortable. More and more, we are seeing that he is sharing stories about himself from when he was younger and it was an incredible moment to be apart of when Luigi was reunited with his mother after all this time. Overall, Luigi couldn’t be happier, and we couldn’t be happier for him.”
This article originally appeared in the Rural Lifestyle Options Australia 2019-2020 Annual Report. To learn more about our Participant’s experiences with Rural Lifestyle Options Australia, please visit: www.rloa.org.au/ourstories