Better Together came to know of Malcolm when a local council business came to us to get advice about how to deal with an elderly man with an intellectual disability, who was spending too much time talking to staff. They didn’t want to get to the point of having to exclude him.
We ran an Inclusion Workshop for the staff of the business with the aim to:
- Help the staff to think about ways they could better engage with people with a disability,
- To challenge some of the assumptions they might have had about what it means to have a disability and how that impacts their decisions about how they treat people.
From this workshop some real community leadership developed as the staff collectively asked more and more questions about not just how to be more welcoming for people with disability – but also how to safeguard people against negative assumptions, and potential abuse. It also led to other workshops and presentations for other businesses. Through this the staff of that business had a better understanding of how to deal with Malcolm so that he could remain a valued member and not be excluded.
Michelle, the senior staff member introduced us to Malcolm so that we could spend time getting to know him and what his needs were.
Better Together got to know Malcolm. Malcolm is a charming, friendly, traditional, and caring man with many interests and passions. He loves music, pool, church and visiting businesses and people he meets. He does not like to spend a lot of time at home – he much prefers the company of people outside of his accommodation support.
Up until a few years ago Malcolm spent his whole life with his parents. His father was a war veteran, so the RSL, Anzac day and Remembrance Day are the most important things in his life.
Malcolm has always been a very family orientated man who now no longer has any family left in his life. He was so lonely that sometimes he went to local funerals and pretended to know the person who had died because then people thought he was family and they showed real caring towards him – sometimes he even got a hug.
Malcolm needed to feel like part of a family again. He needed someone in his life who is like a brother and a mate. He needed someone who could regularly spend time with him without him having to ask them to. Malcolm also really wanted to work.
Better Together asked Cecil, a retired family man living in the local area to bring Malcolm into his family life and be like a brother to him. Cecil learnt from Better Together about Malcolm’s situation, needs and how to be someone who looks out for him. Cecil spends time with Malcolm, and invites him to family dinners. They have developed a relationship of trust. This relationship is now independent of Better Together.
Better Together also supported Malcolm to join the Caboolture Community Work Cooperative where Malcolm has developed a valued working role.
Malcolm has also developed a very strong relationship with Renee, though Better Together. They meet every week and sometimes Malcolm spends time with her and her family. She is really important to him.