Maintaining independence with support from Sonder

Maintaining independence with support from Sonder

Miriam’s story

Miriam, a respected Aboriginal Elder from Mak Mak Marranunggu, Northern Territory living on Narungga Country (Yorke Peninsula), has dedicated her life to education and community service. She enjoyed a successful career as a high school teacher and lecturer/counsellor for Aboriginal students commencing studies at the University of South Australia. Once retired, she became an Aboriginal Cultural Consultant for schools across the Yorke Peninsula. Living alone, she treasures her independence but has faced significant health challenges, particularly with managing her cardiovascular (heart) disease.

Encouraged by her neighbour, who was already engaged with Sonder’s Closing the Gap – Integrated Team Care (CTG ITC) program, Miriam reached out to her GP for a referral. The CTG ITC program is specifically designed to support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in managing chronic health conditions through personalised care coordination, self-management skill development, and practical assistance to access necessary services.

Initially hesitant to seek help due to her strong sense of independence, Miriam found a compassionate and understanding ally in Linda, Care Coordinator in the CTG ITC program. Linda’s patient and supportive approach helped Miriam feel comfortable accepting the assistance she needed.

Working alongside Brian, Outreach Worker in the CTG ITC program, Linda provided Miriam with a wide variety of comprehensive support. Advocating on behalf of Miriam, Linda supported her to access the services outlined on her GP Management Plan, including specialist and allied health services such as podiatry, ENT, optometry, exercise physiology and physiotherapy, along with regular GP visits. They also arranged transportation to and from these appointments where needed, ensuring Miriam could access the care she needed without any financial or logistical barriers.

A crucial aspect of the management of Miriam’s cardiovascular disease was her pacemaker which had been fitted prior to Miriam’s engagement with the program. Linda supported Miriam to attend yearly reviews with a cardiologist specialist to monitor her pacemaker’s functionality.

Reflecting on her journey with Sonder, Miriam shared,

Linda is an excellent facilitator for my needs, and I am proud to consider her as a friend.

This sentiment was echoed by Linda, who remarked,

Miriam’s determination and resilience are truly inspiring. It’s been a privilege to support her in maintaining her independence and health.

Thanks to the dedicated support from Linda and the CTG ITC team at Sonder, Miriam continues to successfully manage her health while retaining her cherished independence. Her story is a testament to the impact of compassionate care and community support in helping individuals to better manage their health and live fulfilling lives.

Looking for support?

To get started, make an appointment with your regular GP or Aboriginal Health Worker, and ask them to complete an Aboriginal Health Check and/or a GP Management Plan and make a referral to Sonder for the Closing the Gap ITC program.

If you do not have a regular GP, contact us and we can support you to access the service. Call (08) 8209 0700 or email to chat with our friendly team.

Closing the Gap Integrated Team Care is supported by funding from Adelaide PHN and Country SA PHN through the Australian Government’s Primary Health Network Program.