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Caring for our carers during National Carers Week

Published on 18 October 2022
Categories:
  • Active and Healthy Ageing
  • Community
  • Disability
  • Health and wellbeing
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National Carers Week runs from 16 to 22 October and is a time to acknowledge the wonderful work of unpaid carers in Maroondah who make vital contributions to our community.

More than 10,800 people - or 12 per cent of residents - over the age of 15 in Maroondah provide unpaid care to someone with a disability, long-term illness or who is elderly.

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Mike Symon, acknowledged Maroondah’s unpaid carers for their tremendous work, noting this can be at a cost to their own health and wellbeing.

“This National Carers Week, we acknowledge the many unpaid carers in Maroondah who make an invaluable contribution to our community. They are often everyday people - mums, dads, partners, children, relatives and friends - who help with a variety of personal care, transport, household and other tasks.

“While supporting a loved one can be very rewarding, it can also be emotionally and physically challenging. Caregiving can take up significant amounts of time and resources, meaning carers can sometimes put their own needs aside. This can impact their ability to remain engaged in their community, their workplace and with their family and friends, which can lead to feelings of isolation,” Cr Symon said.

“This is why it’s essential that carers try to make time for themselves, too. Whether it’s exercising, taking up a hobby or seeking support from friends, family or one of Council’s carer support groups, taking care of their own physical and mental wellbeing is just as important as the care they provide to their loved one.”

Maroondah resident Lorraine has been caring for her husband, Adrian, for about seven years. Adrian regularly attends the Men’s Group and The Shed as part of Council’s Kerrabee Centre social inclusion and wellbeing program, which helps Lorraine balance caregiving with time for her own wellbeing.

“Adrian loves going to Kerrabee every Monday - he enjoys the woodwork program. He gets along well with everyone there, and always says ‘Cheerio! See you next week,’ when I pick him up at the end of the session.

“I enjoy line dancing, scrapbooking, walking and reading. Sometimes I’ll go shopping or see a movie about once a week with a friend,” Lorraine said.

Along with her hobbies, Lorraine said support from her family and friends assists her to care for Adrian.

“Our children are very, very good and help us when they are able to. I have good friends and I’m also part of a community church group, who I see every Sunday and any other time I call them for a visit,” she said.

Tips for looking after yourself as a carer

  • Remember to take care of your own mental and physical health.
  • Remain physically active in ways that you enjoy.
  • Get enough sleep and rest.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Take up a new hobby or reconnect with an activity you used to enjoy.
  • Find a local carer support group where you can share experiences, tips, and support each other.

Carer support groups and programs

Council offers services and support for carers to assist them in their caring role, recognising that a carer’s emotional health is just as important as the care they provide to someone.

Groups in Maroondah

Maroondah Carers Group

The Maroondah Carers Group is run in partnership with EACH and is a free peer support group for carers living in Maroondah to share experiences, gain support, and be connected with resources and activities to support them in their caring role.

Akuna Carer Group

The Akuna Carer Group is run in partnership with Maroondah City Council and Donwood. The group offers support to carers of people with memory loss, providing time for carers to chat with other carers, enjoy afternoon tea and hear from guest speakers.

Pathways for Carers

Pathways for Carers is a free program led by carers, for carers. It provides carers with the opportunity to walk, talk and share their experiences all while learning about support services available to them. Each walk is facilitated by a guest speaker/walker.

Further information

To find out more about National Carers Week, including services, support and resources that are available, visit National Carers Australia, which is the national peak body representing Australia’s unpaid carers.  

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