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Retired couple forced to shower at local pool after renovation funding debacle

Carolyne and Garry Scott-Brydges thought government funding would pull them out of their situation.

A Gold Coast couple has been forced to shower at their local swimming pool after enduring a home renovation funding debacle. Carolyne and Garry Scott-Brydges are meant to be enjoying their retirement years, but they can't comfortably wash themselves at home because their shower is far too small to account for their ailing health.

Gary can't reach his legs anymore and requires his wife of more than 50 years to help him shower. They applied for government funding to help expand their shower at home, but that has turned in a nightmare.

They are both on the aged pension and were quoted $15,500 for a bathroom renovation, which was more expensive than the $10,000 Commonwealth Home Support Program grant that they were eligible for. The couple told A Current Affair they were then given close to $12,000 each after applying for a Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) program.

Retired couple Carolyne and Garry Scott-Brydges talking about their renovation woes
Carolyne and Garry Scott-Brydges have been forced to shower at their local swimming pool because they can't afford renovations to expand their bathroom. (Source: A Current Affair)

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The program helps people "reverse or slow" the difficulties they might have with everyday tasks.


Health professionals assess what eligible candidates need to make life easier and then allocate an organisation to help bring this into fruition.

Because the couple's shower at home was too small, they went to their local swimming pool to bathe as there was far more room in those stalls.

"I'm holding onto the bar all the time in there frightened I'm gonna fall and I've fallen a few times," Garry explained to A Current Affair.

However, they've been forced back to their small shower at home after Carolyne underwent carpal tunnel surgery and isn't able to help husband.


The Scott-Brydges hoped the STRC money was going to be spent on upgrading their shower, but they were told major renovations like that were "outside the scope of the" program.

So, the money was put towards other items. There were new kitchen appliances installed, Garry was given a new walker and mattress and Carolyne got an iPad.

These upgrades were handled by Feros Care, a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in-home care and disability support services, who also charged the couple $3,717 each for package and care management. Feros Care said the Scott-Brydges approved all of this, but they claim they had no idea what was in their agreement.

"I would have told them to forget the whole deal I wanted the money for the shower. And that was what I wanted it for," Garry said.

Renovations weren't covered in the funding

Feros Care denied any wrongdoing in the debacle and said it "strictly adhered to the Department's guidelines and the clients in this case agreed to their support package", which didn't include any modifications to the shower area.

In a statement, the organisation said a shower refurbishment was "not permissible" under the STRC program and any suggestion that it "misused government funding" or did not complete "what it was contracted to do" was "wrong and completely misleading".

The aged care department said the STRC program's money isn't an "allotment of funds to be spent" on whatever a person wants and is instead a system where a "range of services" can be arranged.

"STRC services are tailored for each person and typically involve a range of health professionals. Support might include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing support, personal care, technologies to help with day-to-day activities, and minor home modifications," it said to A Current Affair.

"The care plan is agreed by the client (and their representative), the team of health professionals providing the care, and an STRC approved provider before the care commences. Care and services must be delivered in accordance with the care plan."

Carolyne and Garry now have to put up with their situation because shower renovations are too expensive for them.

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