Life can be pretty busy – between work, study, children, after school commitments etc, there isn’t often a lot of time left in the day. So add in caring duties for ageing parents, or an ageing parent who has perhaps lost his/her spouse, and life gets even busier.
For most of us, this is something we happily choose to do because we love our parents, but we all occasionally need a break. This is Andrew’s story (name changed for privacy) and how the Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre (an Australian Government initiative managed by LiveBetter in the Central West) was able to help.
Andrew is an Employed Carer. He works full time as a teacher and helps to care for his elderly father Peter who lives across town. Since Andrew’s Mum passed away, his Dad struggles to manage without help but wants to stay in his own home. Every morning Andrew calls in to see his Dad – he lets himself into the house, checks that his Dad is up and about, takes his medication and has his breakfast. Andrew phones his Dad at lunch time to make sure he’s OK and has taken his lunch time tablets.
Andrew doesn’t finish work until after 5.00pm and then calls in to see his Dad on his way home to his family. Andrew will chat to his Dad about his day, check the Webster pack to make sure he’s taken his pills, put dinner in the microwave and sit with him while he eats. Andrew won’t get home to his family until after 6.00pm. On the weekends, Andrew and his wife do Peter’s cleaning, cooking and shopping, and Andrew mows the lawns.
Andrew loves his Dad and is happy to help him, but occasionally he’d like a break and in the long term, he knows Peter will need more support than he can give.
Andrew contacts the Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre who talk to him about weekend respite for his Dad now and then, so Andrew and his family can plan some time away together. The Respite Centre also offers Andrew a drop in service to help his Dad on Thursday evenings when Andrew has to attend staff meetings.
The Respite Centre arrange an assessment for Peter for respite care and home help to take on some of the tasks that Andrew and his wife do. They also link Peter up with a service that offers group activities to keep him active in the community.
The Employed Carer Program provides support and referral for carers who are working and caring for an older relative or friend. Carers can be working full or part time and providing practical support to a person 65 or over (or over 50 if Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander).
If you think this program might be able to help you or someone you know, please call COMMONWEALTH CARER RESPITE CENTRE on 1800 052 222 to discuss the Employed Carers Program which provides support for people who are working and caring for an older relative or friend.