24 June 2024

Mimari shares her experience at the Life Without Barriers' short-term accommodation in Victoria.

Mimari is close to her mum Chieko, who she lives with. Home is Mimari’s happy place where you can find her hanging out with Chieko, playing games, watching Crunchyroll or the Disney Channel. Mimari speaks both English and Japanese, and communicates with her mum mostly in Japanese.

As much as Mimari loves her home life, like any young adult, she also looks forward to spedning time on her own. For Mimari, the two nights a month she spends at ‘Devonshire’, one of Life Without Barriers’ short-term accommodation services in Melbourne, are a relaxing time.

“I stay for two nights; I go for relaxing.” Mimari said.

Mimari loves going to Devonshire so much that she usually prepares for her stay's days beforehand.

“She always packs her bags by the night before – oh, she’s very happy,” Chieko shared.

Mimari relishes her stays, the adventures waiting for her, and the warm staff who respect her need for space. She said what she likes most about her visits are “making cake and also eating yummy food.”

Image: Mimari stands on a viewing platform at the waterfall, smiling at the camera.

Mimari was initially reserved during her first visit to the respite home six years ago. She is shy around new people, but it did not take long for her to be won over by the experience of being at the short-term accommodation.

“The first time I went I was nervous to stay in there,” she said.

“Then seeing people there that I like, the place getting nice.”

Mimari’s stays have become her mini holidays. The respite retreats let her have her independent ‘me-time’.

“I get my privacy when I am there,” said Mimari.

The respite accommodation offers Mimari lots of space to relax. She has her own room and there are two living rooms, as well as an outdoor entertainment area.

Before her visits, Mimari writes out a list of things she would like to do each time. Chieko emails the list to Harris, the House Supervisor, and his team.

“Whatever she tells them that she wants to do, if they can do it, they will make it happen,” said Chieko.

Chieko also noted that Mimari is now very at ease at the respite home and is comfortable with her support workers.

“All the staff are good there. The care worker who regularly supports Mimari – he’s so funny,” shared Chieko.

Even though she is naturally an indoors person, Mimari has fun participating in all the activities planned during her visits, including outdoor excursions.

“It’s never boring,” Mimari said.

When Mimari stays at Devonshire, she loves to share all her experiences with her mum. She updates Chieko about what she gets up to through frequent messages via 'Line', a Japanese messaging app similar to WhatsApp.

During a recent stay, Mimari went to a park with three other guests and care workers, and kept her mum updated on the outing.

“We went on an excursion. It was good and relaxing. We went to see a waterfall,” she wrote along with photos of the scenery.

Image: Two images: 1. The waterfall Mimari visited. 2. The town Mimari visited during her day trip.

“We had lunch outside in the park,” Mimari shared alongside a photo of her ham, cheese and tomato toastie.

Chieko was especially delighted to receive that message; Mimari is particular about what she eats, and it shows how well staff know Mimari and how they cater to her tastes.

“Every time she goes to respite, she sends me pictures of what she eats,” said Chieko.

After the excursion, Mimari and one of the support staff baked a cake for everyone in the home.

“It was real nice. We ate it with ice cream. All the people liked it,” Mimari told her mum.

“She showed me the picture of the cake she made. It is so special - this is the first time Mimari has ever baked a cake with the help of a support worker in the respite,” Chieko said.

The next day, Mimari sent Chieko pictures of what she had for breakfast.

“The staff baked scones for everyone. She texted me this picture. Very good aren’t they?” Chieko said, looking at the message her daughter sent.

Image: 3 images: 1. The cake Mimari baked in a bowl. 2. Ingredients for the cake set out on the kitchen bench. 3. The text Mimari sent to her mother, with a picture of her and her support worker baking together.

On the second day of her visit, some of the other respite guests and support staff went to a park to play games and then went shopping afterwards. When she came back home after her respite stay, Mimari was excited to chat with her mum and fill her in on the details of the stay.

What Chieko loves most about Mimari’s holidays at Devonshire is the sheer joy she gets from these visits.

“She’s really happy to go there. Mimari is surrounded by lovely people and can feel peaceful when she is there."

"I appreciate them very much, and I thank them every day."

“Mimari and I want to share our experience because we think it's worthwhile for everyone to know that there's a wonderful world of respite and disability services like Life Without Barriers out there,” said Chieko.

What is Short Term Accommodation (STA)?

Short Term Accommodation (STA), also known as respite, is a great opportunity for people living with a disability to have a break from their daily routine with the support of highly skilled staff in purpose-built accommodation.

Life Without Barriers' STAs are inclusive and enjoyable places for all short stays. We offer a range of services designed to meet each person's individual needs, while also incorporating engaging activities to build skills to promote independence and the chance to meet new people.

A person's story is precious. We take storytelling seriously. Sometimes, people are able to tell their own stories, and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok, and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.

Supported Accommodation

For more information about our supported independent living.

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