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Caring for Carers

Written by Kerry Garth a Dementia Services Manager with integratedliving

A diagnosis of any illness can have an emotional impact on a person and family and friends. Relationship dynamics and roles within those relationships may change which can be challenging at times.  

Caring for someone we love can be a very rewarding experience, however at times there can be stressors which can lead to exhaustion or neglecting one’s own health and wellbeing.  

Some signs of being under stress include lack of energy, feeling tired all the time, weight gain or loss and problems with sleeping. Feelings of isolation can also be attributed to carer stress with a drift away from friends, local networks and social connections. 

Respite services can go a long way to alleviating some of the stressors by giving the carer an opportunity to catch up with friends, do some shopping, exercise or simply take a bit of time for themselves. This down time is crucial for re-energising and self-care.  

Respite services can be in the form of skilled staff coming to the home while the carer goes out or it could be provided in one of our activity centres, which provide a full day of fun and laughter for our clients while their carer has a break. 

We recently had a new client attend one of our activity centres. Initially he was reluctant to attend, however he agreed to come in and see the centre for himself. Upon visiting he decided he would “give it a go”. His carer was happy about his decision as she was very much in need of a break, although she was concerned he may not enjoy it.  During the morning of his first day he was a little anxious which is normal in any new environment, but he slowly warmed to everyone and began participating in some of the activities.  

By the afternoon some men had arranged a game of pool for a bit of fun. Our new client is a keen pool player and before long was giving tips, helping others with technique and showing tricks much to everyone’s delight. He is now enjoying his time with us and his carer can enjoy her break knowing he is having a good time and is well cared for.  

If you or anyone you know is experiencing any kind of stressors in their caring role, please reach out to us - we can help, either in-home or at one of our activity centres. We also have a virtual program that carers of our clients can participate in called Carers Together. It’s an online support program that helps carers connect with other carers in a friendly setting. Carers can share stories and ideas, discover resources and learn about different topics each week, all from the comfort of their own home. You can learn more by calling our Customer Service Centre on 1300 782 896. 

Learn more about our respite services