WITH CARERS’ Week fast approaching from October 15 – 21, it is important to recognise the crucial role carers play in our society.
In Australia alone, there are 2.7 million unpaid carers who support a relative or friend who may have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, drug and alcohol dependency or are frail aged.
Every care situation is different as is everyone’s experience as a carer.
They could be anyone of any age or background, caring for someone full time, part time or on occasion.
Chances are that you yourself or someone you know is a carer.
Carers’ week provides an opportunity for individuals to share their stories and raise awareness on the diversity of carers and their roles.
A member of the SCS Carers’ Group shares her experience:
“There is a well-known saying – it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
As a child I thought that was a crazy expression but as I matured I realized how true it is because I learned that it is in giving that we receive.
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BECOMING A parent 40 years ago gave me a great sense of fulfilment – I myself was on the backburner and caring for my family became my focus and purpose.
I was devastated to learn when my son was about 5 years old that he had an intellectual disability – how would I ever cope with that?
It was indeed a difficult time.
Looking back over the past thirty five years, however, I can honestly say it has been a richly rewarding journey with ups and downs – times of great joy and times of discouragement but my life most certainly had purpose.
Knowing that someone depended on me helped me to focus on what is really important and made me realize that I had to look after myself properly in order to be able to look after the person who depended on me for care.
Needless to say, Carers occasionally need support or a break from their demanding (often) 24-7 role and the services provided to Carers through Carers’ Support Groups are invaluable and give courage and incentive to keep on keeping on.
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HAVING THE opportunities to meet, share and interact with other Carers in similar circumstances is also very encouraging and enriching.
I am most grateful to the powers that be that support Carers enabling them to keep on keeping on in their valuable roles.”
It is a well-known fact that the greatest unmet need among carers is finding personal time for themselves.
We all know the importance of maintaining one’s own health while managing the health of others.
Research states that over 90% of carers say they need more help managing their emotions. Care giving takes a toll both physically and emotionally.
Solutions that allow personal time and pampering occasions for the carer result in healthier, more emotionally stable care providers. This in turn will have a positive effect on the care recipient and their relationship with the carer.
At Sydney Community Services (formerly known as Hunters Hill Ryde Community Service) we provide carers’ support groups, flexible respite, bus outings and a senior’s hub to help facilitate some much needed down time.
If you or someone you know is in need of a little extra support, contact yours truly on 9817-0101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ROSEMARY LIU is the Carers’ Support Co-ordinator for Sydney Community Services