When Dunolly woman Angela Ang's mother first went into a nursing home she had come straight out of hospital and didn't have the strength to stand up on her own.
But staff there worked with her to get her standing again, by gripping a table.
For months there was no issue. Then a new manager came to the home, saw how Miss Ang's mother was standing, and told them it wasn't standard procedure.
The family ignored it. Miss Ang's mother had been standing that way for months, and the nursing home staff themselves had taught the family the trick.
A few months later, the family heard that their mother was no longer allowed to stand up without a machine.
When Miss Ang's sister enquired, she was told it was now the rule. She requested nothing be changed until the facility had met with the family. The response was that if the facility was not allowed to make decisions, they would have to send Miss Ang's mother to a hospital.
The harsh reaction shocked the family.
"This woman’s threatening to throw my mother out," Miss Ang said.
"We were all extremely shocked, because it was beyond an overreaction to the request.
"We are not talking about a life or death situation, we are talking about sitting and standing."
Culturally, it was important for the family to take their mother home on festive occasions, such as Chinese New Year, which was difficult with a bulky machine. But they also saw the symptoms of her dementia improve with physical activity.
When the family met with the nursing home, they discovered that Miss Ang's mother simply couldn't stand in the way the manager wanted. She used a table instead of the arms of her chair, the prescribed method.
It took months of pushing from the family and support from a physiotherapist to get her mother standing again.
It made a huge difference. Miss Ang's mother began to remember more and engage better.
Miss Ang's story was just one of the stories told at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety forum in Bendigo.
Miss Ang decided to present the story to the commission not because it was particularly sad – her mother has regained her mobility – but because even something so simple as the ability to stand up was denied.
"I wanted people out there to understand that it’s not just about the basic human needs," Miss Ang said.
"There's a whole lot of other things around them that make your life happy.
"These are our elder citizens who deserve to feel secure and safe and enjoy whatever time they’ve got left without having to have people fight for them all the time."
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