15 - 21 October 2017 is National Carers Week and an opportunity to say thank you to the 2.7 million Australians who provide unpaid care and support to a loved one living with disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, or who is frail aged.
Anyone, at any time, can become a carer, and this National Carers Week we met up with our client Paula and her aunty Annette, who became Paula’s carer two years ago after Paula’s mother passed away.
Paula, fondly known as “Pooch”, is 51 years young and has an intellectual disability. She lives with Annette, who she calls “Sis”, in a cosy apartment near Zion Lutheran Home in north Brisbane, where her dad resides.
Paula spends most of her time visiting her dad and joining in on activities at Zion with her dog Buttons, however each week Paula looks forward to her respite service from Ozcare.
Every Thursday Paula is picked up by Robyn, Care Assistant at Ozcare, and taken on a social outing to a local shopping centre for a spot of shopping, coffee, and a bite to eat.
“Paula’s a lovely client to take out and we enjoy each other’s company,” said Robyn.
“I like that my job provides me the opportunity to help out in the community. My weekly outings with Paula give Annette a much needed break; it’s really important that carers take time for themselves.”
For Paula, it is important to have consistency - someone she sees regularly and someone who she connects with.
Annette explains: “Paula can get stressed about who is coming, so we are lucky that most of the time we get Robyn who has a special affinity with Paula.
“I think it comes from the top down. The scheduler has to take into account who the customer is, their unique situation and who is most suitable – if you can get that right you are home and hosed.”
Annette tells us she also looks for empathy in a provider for assurance that Paula is being treated properly and respected.
“That’s the thing about Ozcare, it doesn’t matter who they send they have an empathy that a lot of people do not have,” Annette said.
“Nothing is too much trouble and I have full confidence and trust that they have her best interests at heart.”
Trust in a provider means an enormous amount to most carers, especially busy ones like Annette, who volunteers at her church, tutors school students and occasionally undertakes relief teaching work.
“With Ozcare I don’t have to worry about Paula’s safety,” Annette said.
“I know they won’t leave her at the shops and they always see to it that she gets home safely. I don’t worry about it because of the caring attention they give her.
“For me it is a great relief. Paula is precious cargo and when I hand her across I expect the same thing back.”
If you or someone you know is a carer that would benefit from some help, Ozcare can assist by coming to your home, or another place in the community and taking care of the person you care for while you attend appointments, have some time to yourself, study, volunteer or do paid work. Our respite services are available during the day and overnight, and are completely flexible to you needs.
Additionally, Ozcare offers eight day respite centres around Queensland for seniors and people living with a disability looking to meet new people and have some fun. Ozcare’s 11 aged care facilities around Queensland also offer residential respite care, where you can move in temporarily for a few days or a number of weeks.
For more information on Ozcare’s range of respite services call 1800 Ozcare (1800 692 273).