Caring for our carers
Eleni was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012, sending a shock through the family. Eleni’s daughter Nina slowly found herself taking on the primary caring role.
With no prior knowledge or experience of Parkinson’s Disease, Nina didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t know the disease could cause depression, anxiety, panic attacks and accompanying mood swings. Her life was slowly consumed by her mother’s illness.
Nina received calls from her mother hourly at work and there were many sleepless nights. Nina scaled back her working days, she stopped seeing her friends and she became increasingly isolated. Nina recalls that some days, she would flee the house, then rush home out of fear Eleni would have a fall. There was constant guilt, a sense of “what am I doing, this is my mum!”
In December 2017, a family member noticed Nina was barely coping with the pressure of caring for Eleni, and gave her the number to Alfred Health Carer Services.
Nina’s eyes were opened to the support available to her and she was connected to services to help her balance caring for her mother and looking after her own wellbeing.
She felt as though a cloud had lifted.
“It was the beginning of a new world,” Nina said. “I was linked in with the support I needed and the world I lost is slowly coming back.”
Nina now has services in place that relieves her of some daily caring responsibilities, and she is gaining back her independence.
Nina’s story is not unique
There are more than 736,600 carers in Victoria, and of these, 239,100 are primary carers, providing the majority of care for the person they support.
Carers are often a hidden group, and sometimes don’t receive the support they need. They are an integral part of Australia’s health system, contributing over $60 billion each year in unpaid care.
Alfred Health is proud to support carers through the services offered by Alfred Health Carer Services and is dedicated to fostering positive care relationships, where carers are encouraged to seek out support and get the help they need.
Support for carers
Alfred Heath Carer Services is the primary carer information, respite and support service for unpaid carers living in the local government areas of Port Phillip, Stonnington, Glen Eira, Bayside, Kingston, Greater Dandenong, Casey, Cardinia, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula.
Alfred Health Carer Services provides:
- 24-hour urgent respite
- Information, linkage and referral, emotional support and advocacy
- Education and peer support through wellbeing sessions, workshops and links to carer groups
- Support to young carers to help them balance their education and care responsibilities
- Respite services, resources and supported activities for older people with care needs, Commonwealth Home Support Program
- Referral and assistance to access services, such as My Aged Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme
If you would like to find out more, visit www.carersouth.org.au or call 1800 052 222.