Protecting ageing and vulnerable widows

Protecting ageing and vulnerable widows - Legacy

Through our programs in support of the ageing, Legacy aims to provide comfort and security to those who find themselves alone and vulnerable.
At Legacy, we are committed to helping older widows live full and happy lives despite their loss.


Legacy currently provides care and support to over 90,000 widows. These are mainly the ageing and infirm widows of Australia's Second World War, Korea, and Vietnam veterans. Each year approximately 5,000 bereaved widows come under Legacy’s care, and most of these are aged 85 years or older.

Care is provided on the basis of need. While some widows require little more than advice, others require more extensive assistance e.g. pension’s advocacy, providing safety and security, relieving financial hardship, combating social isolation and providing medical care. Regardless of the level of care required, Legacy is committed to ensuring no widow of a deceased veteran will ever face life’s challenges alone.



The difference Legacy makes


Mrs Margaret Holme, a 96-year-old Legacy widow, was the wife of Squadron Leader Bob Holme. Bob was a navigator in the Air Force during World War II until his plane crashed and he was killed during the Battle of Milne Bay in 1942.

History marks the epic battle of Milne Bay as the first and crucial defeat against the Japanese. An airstrip was named in Bob’s honour, and Margaret received Bob’s posthumous Air Force Cross for his important role in the victory.

At the time of his death, Bob had a one-year-old daughter, Christine. Legacy took Margaret and Christine under its wing in 1942, and has been alongside the family ever since.


"It’s been wonderful to know Legacy continues to be there for us. Recently I suffered a broken hip when I tripped on the garden path. My friend and Legatee, Ron Osborn, was there to visit me in hospital and to see that I was well on the way to recovery. Legacy has also provided me with a community service worker who visits me regularly to check that, at my age of 96, I’m still coming along OK.

Since losing Bob I’m so grateful that Legacy has been a constant in our lives. It’s been a genuine lifetime commitment of care."


Trusted advice


Legacy volunteers are strongly focused on advising, guiding and helping the ageing widows of veterans. Volunteers establish a personal relationship with all of the people they assist thus enabling a detailed knowledge of the support and advice required.

Legacy is also able to provide assistance with matters such as pension advocacy and entitlement support services, legal and financial advice and assistance, health and lifestyle resources, help with accommodation and support for individual disability and ageing issues.


Combating social isolation


Many of the widows of older veterans are greatly stressed by grief and loneliness. This can lead to a lack of interaction with others, compounding feelings of loneliness and despair. Widows who live alone and have restricted mobility are most likely to suffer from social isolation and are less likely to access support services as a result.

Legacy recognises the serious and disabling consequences of isolation, and uses a combination of community and Legacy resources to construct individual care plans for socially isolated widows. These care plans aim to facilitate social contact and participation in community life with a view to prolonging and enhancing quality of life for the ageing. These care plans include social and care groups, outings, hobby centres and community services and facilities.


Living at home with dignity


All older people deserve to choose where they want to live. The vast majority of widows want to stay independent in a suitable home as they get older. Legacy has a responsibility to support that desire and we do so through offering advice and support in people’s homes.

Even a small change to a home can transform an older person's life. Many older people need help with minor repairs or modifications, but need help with the cost and practical decisions. Legacy can assist with this through contact with appropriate tradesmen, and financial assistance for urgent work. Other types of assistance include help with heating or cooling the home, medical emergency alarm systems and access to community transport.


Health and security


Health issues become more acute as our widows age and financial support may be necessary for hospitalisation outside the public health system. This may include assistance with allied and ancillary medical care, including transportation.

Legacy also provides information and assistance with choosing relevant care options, liaising with providers of domestic help and nursing, domiciliary aged care packages, and medical and mobility appliances. Legacy can also help manage the transition to aged care at the appropriate time. This is particularly important to widows who have no family.


Providing relief from financial hardship


Occasionally, a widow’s income may not provide for a minimum standard of well-being. In these circumstances, Legacy can provide a loan, grant or allowance where there is a genuine need that cannot be met from any other source.

Financial hardship relief is provided for such things as unexpected and vital repairs, significant medical expenses, and essential preventative maintenance of the home.


Contact us


To find out more about Legacy’s programs to support the the ageing and vulnerable widows, contact a Legacy Club in your community

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