For Bolton Clarke At Home Support client Ken, travelling to Alaska had always been a dream.
“I’ve always wanted to do Alaska, Iceland and Antarctica,” the former science teacher and orchid enthusiast says.
Ken, who has a terminal illness and receives daily support at his Sunshine Coast home through a Home Care Package, had planned to take his nephew on the trip of a lifetime. When his nephew became unwell his plans were in doubt.
He spoke to Sunshine Coast At Home Support Manager Penny McWilliams and Home Care Planner Helen Mitchell, who arranged for personal care worker Gary Glass to join him on the cruise and provide the support he needed to fulfill his goal.
“This trip would never have happened without Helen and Penny making it happen,” Ken said.
“I felt safe for the entire time. I knew if anything happened, Gary would have it all under control. There wasn’t a moment when I wished he wasn’t with me.”
Together, the pair cruised from Alaska to Anchorage before flying to Fairbanks. Along the way they saw majestic glaciers and black bears chasing salmon and were awestruck by the Northern Lights.
“Ken and I already had a good relationship, because I visit him for five hours a fortnight of social support,” Gary said.
“Usually we do the groceries, go fishing or have lunch.
“I was honoured to be asked to accompany him on this trip, but more excited to be able to help him realise his dream.”
Penny said Ken’s experience was an example of the flexible ways clients could use Home Care Packages to keep doing the things they love.
“It’s not an everyday thing for us to do but we really enjoyed seeing Ken so excited about his trip,” she said.
“He has been with us for quite a few years. We are all very fond of Ken and we knew how important it was to him, so we pulled out all stops to make this holiday happen.”
Ken, who co-authored three sets of science books used throughout Australia and New Zealand, has a particular interest in geology and his past travels have included close-up exploration of volcanoes in Japan and Hawaii.
In his retirement he became an orchid judge and has judged winning blooms in Australia and overseas.
His next goal is to cruise through Asia and then return to Canada to take the Rocky Mountain Railway.