Are you a carer?

“The simple act of caring is HEROIC.”

Edward Albert

Are you in a caring role?  Many people don’t realise that they are a carer and/or in a caring role.

A few years ago, a colleague was asking people what their role was.  Many of the people she asked, described themselves as the spouse (wife or husband), daughter, son or a friend.  This was astounding to my colleague, as all she asked were in a caring role. 

Being a carer can be a rewarding and taxing job.  You may also work out of the home, so this is another role that you are trying to manage as well as your other activities.  You may be caring for a relative in their home, whilst maintaining your own family in yours. Or you could be caring for someone in the same house.  Regardless of where the person is – being a carer can be tiring as you are often on call 24/7.  Then there is the other issue, the changing role with your loved one and the complexities around this as it often changes the relationship with the person you are caring for.

Due to the constant juggling of competing needs, it is important that the carer maintains self-care as it is important that you are looking after your own needs prior to assisting others.  I often talk about the preflight speech that the cabin crew provide.

“In case of an emergency, the oxygen masks will fall from the overhead lockers.  Please put on your own mask before assisting others.”

You cannot provide from an empty cup and who will look after your loved one if you are unwell?  Carer fatigue is a very real condition and can lead to illnesses or bed rest, should you not manage the workload and your own mental and physical needs.  Taking time out of your schedule and doing things that bring you joy are important.  Catching up with friends, exercising and other activities will assist with keeping you healthy.  Mindfulness activities are also important. 

Are you getting all the assistance that you are eligible for?  Carer Gateway have a list of services that you may meet the criteria for.  They also have funding from the Federal Government for counselling services if things are getting on top of you as the caring landscape changes and you are facing new emotions.

It may be an idea to check to see if the person you care for is also eligible for funding, such as the NDIS or Aged Care Packages.  These packages may improve their quality of life and also provide respite opportunities for both of you.

For those of you – who are not in a caring role but know carers in the community.  Please reach out to them and ask them out for a catch up – you may be the support that they need.

Disclaimer: I am a registered provider through Carers Gateway for counselling.