Kaye cares for her daughter Isabelle, who has Autism and an intellectual disability, her husband Finlay, who is in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, and most recently her Mum, who is just starting to need a little more support. Kaye has been supported by our Carer Support Program for almost 20 years. This National Carers Week, she wants other carers to know they’re not alone, and to reach out for support if they need it.
What kind of care to you provide to your loved ones?
My husband is still working a few days a week. He has needed assistance to find a network of supports and a little help to manage them.
My youngest daughter, Issy, has some good skills and some independence but needs help navigating the NDIS. She would like to leave home one day and would also like to work. We have been trying for quite some time to find work even though she has had some great work experience.
Finally, my mother – who has been managing independently in a retirement village across town – is starting to need more help. Transport to medical appointments has been a real problem during lockdown in Melbourne and I am Mum’s closest family member.
How has VMCH’s Carer Support Program helped?
They’ve provided financial support with respite and when my three girls were young it allowed us to have time out. In more recent years, I have felt more isolated as a carer. Being able to have time out with other carers is a welcome break – I always come home refreshed and with new friends. Regular outings and activities are a great break from my day-to-day responsibilities and a chance to catch-up with other carers and swap ideas about supports and services. VMCH staff are also quite knowledgeable!
What are the challenges of being a carer?
The day-to-day work of supporting others can be physically and emotionally challenging. Balancing my needs against those of the family members I care for can be tough some days.
What are the rewards?
I love seeing my daughter grow and thrive as part of the community. It is really wonderful when I find other professionals and support workers who can work with my family and assist them to achieve their goals.
What would you say to a carer who feels they might need support but is reluctant to seek help?
I would encourage anyone to just pick up the phone and reach out. Help and support are there. It sometimes takes a little time to get things set up but you are never alone!
If you care for someone, we’re here for you. Call 1300 698 624 to find out how we can help.