Carers SA’s key role is to empower family carers, by providing quality services and programs to support their needs, and the needs of the people they care for.
A mother’s love and positivity an inspiration
I am a carer for my mother, and I also have guardianship of my niece, who is 16. My mum who is 81 was an intensely independent person all her life. She never asked for help from others and would rarely accept even if it were offered. In 2013 she suffered an acute right pontine haemorrhage. At the hospital I was told mum would not survive the bleed but she pulled through. Mum was then discharged into my care.
This is not my first time caring. When I was 20 my father had a massive stroke and ended up spending months in rehab. My mother and I spent seven years looking after him, and making sure he was provided for.
The second time around, in a caring role, I am older and wiser and a great deal stronger than I was so I am able to push harder for assistance. Most people are surprised that I am a carer given my positive outlook and the fact that I don’t treat it as a negative. I can attribute my positive attitude, to my mother, she has always been the most positive and giving person I have ever met. She was the one who taught me not to judge and that everyone has a story.
My biggest challenge at the start of my caring role, was accepting help. For some reason, I thought I could do it all which included taking on raising a teenager. I have learnt that accepting help is not a weakness and that I am not Superwoman. It took me some time but I have realised that my physical and mental health is as much a priority as mum’s. I make sure I do something for myself every week and I have always had a love of art, I paint and draw in a variety of mediums.
Another challenge is balancing work and my caring responsibilities. I have used up nearly all my different types of leave in my role as a carer. I have reduced my work hours to part time to allow me to care for mum and receive a small pension to assist.
Carers are the backbone of the community and caring can be tough. We are the silent few who do our best to make sure that those we care about are well looked after often at our own expense. We are doing our best. Your compassion means the world to us.
Make time for you. Stay calm. You will do fine.