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Wayne Finds His Happy Place

Wayne and support worker Jia

Life had not always been easy for Wayne. His early adult years involved moving between various group homes in Sydney. He also had multiple admissions to psychiatric wards to help manage his schizophrenia. 

Wayne moved to Katoomba at the age of 30 looking for a fresh start. However, it would still be some years before he received the support he needed. With the boarding house he was living in falling into disrepair, and no one to support him, Wayne’s mental health was impacted. 

In 2009 Wayne moved into a home run by Sylvanvale. It was the first time as an adult that Wayne had someone focused on helping him to achieve the day-to-day activities he was struggling with. It wasn’t long before he was setting new goals and rediscovering things that he enjoyed as a younger person.  

Wayne standing outside his townhouse

In high school, Wayne loved to swim. Encouraged by the support staff at the house, Wayne decided to give swimming a go at the nearby Katoomba Aquatic & Leisure Centre. The swimming pool was just a short walk from his Rayton House home, so he went along with his support worker. It wasn’t long before Wayne had established a routine of swimming three times a week.  

Wayne outside his front door

In 2011 a new support worker, Jia, joined Sylvanvale and became Wayne’s key worker. Jia took the time to really get to know Wayne and understand his goals. Jia could see how much Wayne enjoyed his regular swimming. He recognised the positive impacts swimming was having on all aspects of Wayne’s life, including his mental and physical health. Wayne was more confident and positive, as well as physically healthier. 

Jia committed to supporting Wayne in his routine.  

In 2012 Sylvanvale opened a brand-new residence in the Blue Mountains, which was to become Wayne’s home. The new home is even closer to the Katoomba Aquatic & Leisure Centre, making it even easier for Wayne and Jia to stick to their routine. A naturally houseproud person, the benefits of swimming also gives Wayne the motivation and energy to contribute to the running of the house – doing washing, wiping up and keeping his room tidy. 

Katoomba property
Supported Independent Living Katoomba property - veranda

These days Wayne prefers to tread water in the pool, rather than swim, however still enjoys the same benefits as he challenges himself to beat his own best time. 

“When I got back into swimming, I wasn’t much of a swimmer. These days I tread water in the pool and do 105 laps walking super hard and fast. I do it because it makes me physically well and mentally well. It makes me feel like a new man,” said Wayne. 

13 years on, Jia remains Wayne’s key worker. He is still focused on supporting Wayne to participate in day-to-day activities, without barriers. 

Do you know someone looking for a new home where they’re supported to achieve their goals?