Recognising compassion and commitment of unpaid carers
Support is available for carers in the community.
National Carers Week runs from 15 to 21 October and is a time to recognise, celebrate and raise awareness about the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend.
A carer is someone who provides ongoing, unpaid support to people who need help because of a disability, mental illness, chronic or terminal illness, dementia, or frail age.
Melanie Boyes, Staff Services Officer in our District’s Executive Unit, is just one of more than 1000 of our staff members who juggle work and caring for family members and friends.
Melanie began providing continual care and support to her elderly mother in 2018 after an acute osteoarthritis diagnosis, which makes everyday movements like walking and domestic duties impossible for her.
Her role as a carer intensified after her mum experienced numerous falls the following year and has taken on the responsibility of supporting her mum with daily living tasks, household chores, attending medical appointments and making sure she takes her medication.
"I felt really overwhelmed by the responsibility of needing to care for my mother whilst also working full time,” Melanie said.
“I got in touch with Kim Brauer, Manager of our District’s Carers Program, who gave me lots of advice and carer information to help me get started.
“My mother is now equipped with lots of the necessary aids to help her with daily living activities so she can be somewhat independent, and this has encouraged her overall wellbeing.”
The Carers Program supports carers to access services for themselves and the people they care for.
Reflecting on this year's Carers Week theme, “millions of reasons to care”, Melanie says: “It only takes one act of kindness to change a person’s life, and this is what I and the other carers of Australia are doing every day.
“To be a good carer, you need to be passionate about the care you give but that can be difficult when you are juggling a lot of different responsibilities, However I find that the rewards are infinite.
“I’ve also proven to myself that I’m much more capable to meet all the challenges and demands of being a full-time employee here at Sydney Local Health District, as well as a carer at the same time.
“It’s not been easy but there are literally millions of reasons pertinent to me that make this role such a rewarding one.
“By providing Australian carers with more resources, we can support them to continue giving patient, empathetic and positive care to all.”