Organisation submission – Metro Community Hub

I am a service provider

Terina Edwards

Metro Community Hub

I am a past carer and also a service provider and was heavily involved with Carer’s SA and was in the first ambassador group.

What I see in my current role on a daily basis is that carers need break time, even if its just for a few hours. In our centre we have an in centre day and can pick people up. We focus on entry level clients or package 1 who are independent. We have several clients who are in the early stages of dementia who attend the in centre day so the carer can have some alone time and a break.

Its not about huge chunks of respite that are difficult and expensive. In one case the wife goes out to an art class while we look after her husband. It gives her a regular break and something to look forward to every week for $10.00. He can also come out on bus trips if he would like, giving her another day of alone time.

I also feel that people caring for people with more complex needs, need a case manager themselves to help navigate the system and relieve some of the stress. Often the struggle is not knowing where to go and what to do. Carer’s Australia and other issue specific organisations are very good at doing this. However, people such as myself could also have a case load and assist carers at a local level. Its always good to have access to someone with local knowledge who knows the services or can find them quickly. Many carers are too stressed to be able to navigate the computer but a person who knows the system can give them more confidence and relieve more stress.

I think ensuring that carers have access to regular breaks is more realistic and affordable, even if it is for two or three hours. The days of respite allowed are also important, however, if they could have weekly breaks I am sure this would go a long way to relieve carer burnout.

Also of great importance is supporting carers so they do not lose contact with their family and friends and their former lives. Ensuring they do not experience compound grief and the overwhelming sense of loss is vital to stop carer burnout. Even having the time to catch up with someone over a coffee, can make a big difference.

Weekend breaks are also a great idea. I once did a river cruise for the weekend while Carer’s SA paid for a carer to stay with my husband. At the time I was close to burn out but this made an enormous difference in the quality of my life. A subsidized day spa outing would also be welcome in many cases or massages. Having time to care for yourself should be a high priority and they need to be able to have that as part of a care plan. If CDC is ever to become a reality carers will need their own support plan with their own goals to make them focus on looking after themselves.

Ensuring that they also have access to education if they want is important. For those who give up work. also give up future super income so they should be able to elect to still contribute to their super any way they can to prevent reducing the future standard of living.

The support carers need also includes when the care role is relinquished. I know there used to be support groups, but what is also important is sitting down and making a plan for how life will go forward, once they have recovered from the loss. So they should have access to a free service to assist them plan the rest of their life or the next 12 months and so on. Almost like a where too from here service.

I think its wonderful that the Government is finally doing this and taking the role of a carer seriously. They save the Government a great deal of money and if all carers were to relinquish care, this country would soon be in trouble.