The information on this page is applicable to Australian residents.
- Services to support carers
- What are they ???
- How do we access them???
Over the last few weeks, I've been out and about meeting with service providers to find out what services they offer, how carers of people with HD can access them, and to see how we can work together to support carers. In each bulletin/ edition of the newsletter, we plan to feature one of the services that are available to help carers. We will give some information about the service and some contact numbers for you to keep. To make this as useful as possible to as many of you as possible, we will focus on services that are available all around the State.
We will start with respite care a very valuable, but under used support for carers.
What is respite care?
Even if you love them dearly, caring for some one is hard work! And like all other workers, carers benefit from a break! Respite care is a break from caring for someone. It relieves the stress of you caring for someone all the time. Respite can be an emergency, short-term or planned break from caring. It may be in the person's own home, or in a variety of other settings, such as a day centre, nursing home etc. It is designed to suit your needs and those of the person being cared for. Care may be provided for a few hours, a day, a night or longer.
Do I really need it?
Despite all the benefits, respite care services are not used as frequently as we might expect. It may be because carers feel they don't need it, or that they shouldn't need it, or that they can cope! Some say they feel guilty for taking time out. But carers who have used respite care, tell us once they have used respite, they realise the value of it, and they feel a whole lot better about using it again. If you haven't used respite care before, don't be put off by your concerns or doubts. Discuss your needs with a Carer Respite Centre. And please, don't put it off by saying you don't need it yet! Time out now may help you care better, and last the distance. Remember an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
Who provides respite care?
Governments, and health and community care experts recognise that the number of carers is growing, and often carers are out of site. Carers carry a huge burden of community care, and as a result government funded respite services have been funded all around the country. As carers' needs are all different, a discussion with your local or regional respite care Centre is the best way to get started. These Centres, called Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres (or CRC's) are funded and supported by the Australian Government. They are auspiced by a variety of community organisations with knowledge of a local or regional area.
Does it cost?
Respite care varies in its cost, depending on your need and means. Assistance with the cost of respite can be arranged if required. You are advised to discuss your situation with the Carer Respite Centre in your area.
Try it now, before you "need" it.
If an emergency arises, or when you do need time out for your own health care or to attend an information session, you'll feel more reassured that the person you are caring for is well looked after, if you've tried respite care previously.
The tip from experienced carers is that its a good idea to try out some respite care, even if its just a couple of hours once a week, to go shopping, or get a haircut, to get in the habit of having a break. The person you are caring for may or may not like the new arrangements, but they will adapt, and, in the long run, you'll be able to care longer.
So take that first step!!!...
Respite care helps carers become better carers!! They report feeling better able to cope, more enthusiastic and enjoying the care more, when they've had a break. So take that first step....Call the free call number 1800 059 059 from anywhere in the State. They will connect you to your nearest Centre.