Carers Week: Putting the needs of others first

Jane and her daughter

As a carer, Department of Human Services employee Jane experiences a full range of emotions each day but, with some help from her community, love is the one that pulls her through.

During Carers Week we take time to recognise the way carers put the emotional and physical needs of others before themselves.

In Jane’s situation, she has little time for herself amongst her carer responsibilities.

When Jane isn’t at work she’s looking after her mother, who has dementia and also her teenage daughter who is living with depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

As you can imagine, it’s a full time job, on top of her full time job.

“It’s really an emotional roller coaster for me being a carer,” says Jane.

“I sometimes feel guilty and wonder if I did anything to make things like this, I find myself feeling sorry for my mum and my daughter, and then other times I’m just too tired to even think about what to do.”

“It can be incredibly frustrating to hear my daughter say she doesn’t want to see her psychologist but then I see her friends getting ready for their school formal and I feel really sad knowing she won’t be able to attend.”

Jane said the rollercoaster of emotions is something she’s had to come to terms with and ultimately the best thing she can do is be there for her mother and support her daughter.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but I love them, and that’s what gets me through,” she said

Along with a very supportive husband, Jane also receives community assistance to keep things ticking away in the background so she can dedicate more time to both her mum and her daughter.

“I have help from a local community service to make sure mum’s housework is done and the lawns are mowed.

“Community services also regularly check on her and I’ve found it really helpful hearing their perspective on her condition.

“My work colleagues are also very supportive and understanding of my caring responsibilities and without that support, I would not be able to balance work and home.”

While her caring responsibilities mean Jane doesn’t have a lot of time to herself, she does understand that ‘me time’ is crucial as a carer.

“It’s really important to look after yourself as well, having someone helping out makes such a difference. I know that one day this will pass but right now all I can do, is be the best I can be for them.”

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