Caring for Carers – National Carers Week
Over 2.6 million Australians provide unpaid care to support a family member or friend with disability, mental health condition, chronic condition, terminal illness, alcohol, or other drug issue or who are aged.
This week is National Carers Week (11th to 17th October 2020). Take time this week to think about and thank the many carers across Australia who selflessly care for loved ones with disability.
Charmaine and Monique – NSW
At just 21 years of age, Charmaine became the full-time carer of her older sister, Monique, who lives with intellectual disability. For the past five years, Charmaine has been Monique’s daily support for bathing, meal preparation and getting out and about. Charmaine put her studies for a career in aged care on hold, after study and work became too difficult when coupled with caring for her sister. Not wanting to rely on friends or family to care for Monique, Charmaine turned to Afford’s Short Term Accommodation (respite) services in Lakemba, St Marys and Eschol Park for weekend breaks to give her time to catch up with friends or take on extra shifts at work. Charmaine is one of the many unpaid carers who go above and beyond to care for a loved one with disability.
Jude, Jesse and Emma – VIC
Jude is carer for her son, Jesse 26, and daughter, Emma 34 who both live with intellectual disability and Autism. Due to disability, Jude also gets around in a wheelchair. Jude’s lived experience has made her a stronger carer and a powerful advocate for the needs of her children and all Australians living with disability. Jesse and Emma both attend Afford’s Noble Park Day Program in Victoria. Having them attend day program five times a week gives Jude the time she needs to catch up on other aspects of her life, or simply take time out for herself. While Emma still lives at home, Jude recognised that moving into Afford Supported Accommodation would encourage Jesse’s independence while still giving him support if and when he needs it. With her own NDIS plan in place, Jude now also receives community access services from Afford to get the support she needs as an individual living with disability and as a carer.
Helen and Jacob – VIC
Helen has been the primary, full-time carer for her son, Jacob, for all of his life. Jacob’s intellectual disability means that he needs close and regular support to stay safe and happy. Until recently, this role rested with Helen. Even though Jacob has moved into Afford Supported Accommodation, Helen has been an active and loving carer for him assisting Afford staff to provide a terrific quality of life for Jacob. Having these life supports for Jacob has given Helen peace of mind and respite. She has also attended a variety of Carer events organised by Afford to connect with other families and to build her support networks, and while Jacob has 24/7 support if and when he needs it in his new Afford home, Helen still remains very much involved in her son’s life. She is across all medical appointments, activities and his wellbeing in his new home environment. Helen’s dedication to her son exemplifies the selflessness of carers.
Afford recognises the physical and emotional challenges faced by many carers and families supporting an individual with disability. Afford staff and programs focus on fostering supportive and encouraging environments so that carers can feel comfortable sharing the tough times and the triumphs and can draw strength from others to continue their role as carers.
Afford Day Programs, Carer Support Programs and Short-Term Accommodation (respite) provide carers with opportunities to take time out for themselves to recharge and re-energise to be the best carers for their loved ones.