Young People in Aged Care Awareness – Carrum Downs
Recently the Fiamengo family were featured on Channel 10′s The Project in an effort to raise awareness for young people living in aged care. Shannon Fiamengo was involved in an accident that has left him with an acquired brain injury and is living in a nursing home as a result. The Fiamengo’s have been a part of the Carrum Downs family for many years and have shared part of their story with us in the article below.
Ellen and Ivan Fiamengo: The decision to share Shannon’s story publicly
Our son Shannon is 23 years old, and living in a nursing home. Each year, 200 young Australians like Shannon are admitted to nursing homes. Shannon is well cared for, but we know he has the best chance of improving with more therapy and opportunities for socialisation with other young people – somewhere his friends would be comfortable visiting him. With enough stimulation Shannon will make gains, we are committed to this no matter how long it takes. It goes back to hope, our hope that Shannon will achieve as much independence as possible.
Shannon is here with us today because he chose to be here and we feel we haven’t yet done all we can for him. He is on a journey and we need to get him into an environment where he will get the stimulation and support he needs.
I know if Shannon could talk to us he would say Mum, get me out of here.
It’s challenging to remain clearly focused on your goals, especially when you experience setbacks. The recent Young People in Residential Aged Care initiative (YPIRAC) that was intended to get young people with disabilities out of nursing homes ended in anguish for us when Shannon was offered a place, then to have the offer revoked at the 11th hour. This setback has made us all the more focused and determined to achieve our goal of finding more appropriate accommodation for our son. Sharing Shannon’s story is part of our decision to leave no stone unturned.
The idea of telling Shannon’s story was daunting. It’s not a normal thing to do, speaking publicly about your circumstances, being interviewed on national TV, but this is something we’ve chosen to do for Shannon. Now that it’s done, we are so glad we did it, really glad. We feel recharged and refocused and very motivated to realise our goal for Shannon. We look forward to a day when we can provide a postscript to Shannon’s story, and share the news of Shannon moving out of the nursing home.
For more information on how you can help young people like Shannon to move out of nursing homes, please visit the Building Better Lives initiative website.