Peace of mind for dementia carers
Caring for a loved one living with dementia can be emotionally and physically challenging; it’s sometimes easy to forget that carers need support too.
The Benevolent Society’s South East Sydney Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre (SESCRCC) program provides access to education, social connection and time-out for carers when they need it. Here’s how the program supported two carers to cope with the demands of their role.
Support for Sarah to live her life and be there for her parents
Sarah* was caring for both her parents when she heard about SESCRCC at a Wellbeing Expo at South Care. Her mother was suffering dementia and other health conditions, and her father had broken his wrist. To be sure her parents were okay, Sarah was staying overnight at their home more and more often.
Sarah called SESCRCC to find out what support was available. She felt she was coping reasonably well at the time, but she was thinking of taking a holiday later in the year and was concerned about leaving her parents without support.
The SESCRCC staff gave Sarah information about the range of services available to her and explained how to get a referral for respite services through the government’s My Aged Care portal.
She felt more confident about her caring role, knowing she could get support to live her own best life and do the best she could to be there for her parents.
Sarah shared her thoughts when she learned she could access respite care:
“I stopped worrying so much. I knew I’d be able to keep looking after my parents, but that I’d also be able to take a break when I needed to."
She also added: “It was good to be able to spend more time at home with my partner with some peace of mind”.
How accessing respite care helped Leslie find peace of mind
After 10 years as a registered carer for her brother, who had recently passed away, Leslie* called SESCRCC to register as a carer for her parents. Her father had moderate dementia, and her mother’s physical health was poor. Leslie needed to arrange respite care so her father could be kept safe and well while she took her mother to a specialist appointment.
SESCRCC arranged in-home respite for Leslie’s father, and invited Leslie to attend the Dementia Carers’ Support Group and Carers’ Retreat. Leslie was able to enjoy a rare break from her caring role, and share her experiences with other carers who understood the challenges of caring for loved ones.
The workshop helped Leslie better understand dementia and the changes in her father, and she learned self-care strategies to help maintain her own wellbeing. Leslie felt relieved to feel supported and that she was important too.
“I don’t feel so stressed or anxious. Being able to talk to other people who are going through the same thing was wonderful,” she said.
“I’ve realised I don’t need to feel guilty about taking a break. Having faith in the quality of the respite service means I can genuinely relax and recharge.”
Don’t wait to ask for support
When you care for a person with dementia, you may feel overwhelmed by
the challenges. It can seem impossible to take a break, or to keep up with your
own health issues, friends and community. The right support and understanding
can make all the difference.
Get in touch with the SESCRCC for information on carer support,
education and access to respite services on on 1800 052 222.
*Names and images may have been changed to protect
members of the family