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Molly the magpie carers rescue another native bird

<p>Molly the Magpie's carers have rescued another native bird. </p> <p>Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, who went viral for the interspecies friendship between their two staffies and a magpie named Molly, shared the update on Facebook. </p> <p>“Meet Charlie the vulnerable little kookaburra,” the family wrote on Tuesday.</p> <p>The Mortensen's explained that Charlie had been in their care since the new year period, after a neighbour discovered him unable to fly following wild weather. </p> <p>“He was found by neighbours huddling at the bottom of a tree, they watched for a day and he was all alone and too young to face the world with many dangers around including a stray cat ready for its next feed we were called over to check out the situation,” they wrote.</p> <p>“Reece was in training for his wildlife licence so with the direction and support of wildlife carers specialising in kookaburras we were able to bring this little kookaburra back to our place.”</p> <p>Unlike Molly who developed a special bond with the family's dogs, Charlie was rehabilitated outside, with his own kin watching over him. </p> <p>“We kept him outside as much as possible so the kookaburras knew exactly where he was and could come in and feed him which they did,” they explained.</p> <p>“At times we would count 14 kookaburras keeping an eye on this little one. He would try to fly and achieved short distances but needed practice with his landing.”</p> <p>The family shared the update after Charlie “found the confidence” to return to the wild.</p> <p>“It was such an exciting thing to witness and to be part of,” the family wrote.</p> <p>It has been a wild year for the Queensland family, after Molly was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">voluntarily surrendered </a>to the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation in March, when authorities found the couple were not permitted to care for native wildlife.</p> <p>Over a month later, the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) announced that they would return Molly to the family with a few special conditions, including obtaining a license and meeting specific requirements to ensure her ongoing health and wellbeing.</p> <p>The reunion was definitely one to remember with followers and animal lovers across the country over-joyed at the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/first-pics-of-molly-the-magpie-reunion" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reunion</a>. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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5 questions to ask before becoming a carer

<p>Thinking about becoming a caregiver? Deciding to step up and provide care for a loved one is a huge responsibility. Make sure you’re prepared and ask these five vital questions first.</p> <p><strong>Do I need to hire help?</strong></p> <p>Just because you’re taking on caregiving duties doesn’t mean you have to be super human. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help, whether it’s in the form of a cleaner or someone to take on tasks that you would prefer to outsource. According to Health.com, 40 per cent of caregivers say dealing with incontinence is one of their most difficult task, while 30 per cent say helping relatives bathe is hard as well.</p> <p><strong>What is my Plan B?</strong></p> <p>If something should happen to you and your schedule or demands change, it’s important to discuss a back-up plan. As the primary carer, a lot of responsibility will rest on you so make sure you have a Plan B before you need one.</p> <p><strong>Should I be compensated?</strong></p> <p>A survey found that 60 per cent of careers adjust their work schedule to look after others, which means either cutting back hours or taking a leave of absence. While you might not want to accept money to care for loved ones, it’s a good idea to have an open discussion with close friends and family about how the responsibilities might impact your life and earning capacity, so that all parties agree on a fair solution.</p> <p><strong>What is Power of Attorney?</strong></p> <p>If you are looking after someone with memory loss, you may need to look into a legal document called power of attorney. Talk to family about who should have this responsibilities, and how you will navigate legal issues that could arise.</p> <p><strong>Who is my support group?</strong></p> <p>Roughly one in three carers don’t receive any help. Having a strong support network of people you can turn to, even just for a chat, can make a huge difference. You might be surprised by how many people you know are also caregivers.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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"Tears started rolling": First glimpse of Molly the magpie shared by carers

<p>The first photo of Molly the magpie has been released by his carers, 43 days after he was removed from his adoptive family's home. </p> <p>In March, Molly's adoptive family from Queensland were forced to surrender the bird after complaints that his owners don't hold a wildlife permit. </p> <p>Molly the magpie has lived with Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen and their two dogs Peggy and Ruby since 2020, when he - originally thought to be a she - fell out a nest in their backyard. </p> <p>Ever since the family were forced to hand over the magpie, Premier Steven Miles said the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation was working to help them secure the permits needed to bring Molly back home. </p> <p>While the permit application is in the works, the carers at the facility where Molly is currently being held have released a photo of the bird to ease the minds of his adoptive family. </p> <p>Wells and Mortensen shared the photo to their Instagram, saying, “We have our first photo!”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5o4_CUSeC7/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5o4_CUSeC7/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"This photo was taken by the carers of Molly (wherever he is) and sent us yesterday. After 43 days... Tears started rolling.”</p> <p>The Gold Coast family then included a poem they had written: “They came and told us they wanted to take you away. We couldn’t even picture what that would look like? I will never forget that day."</p> <p>“If Molly had a voice what would he say? If Molly had a choice where would he stay?"</p> <p>“The silence has been broken. People have awoken. I haven’t been placed on this Earth to hide. Let me soar again and be your guide."</p> <p>“In unity and harmony you will see, what the world needs right now is Peggy, Ruby and me.”</p> <p>In a special message to Molly, Wells and Mortensen said: “We look forward to the day very soon to be able to see you with our own eyes and be reunited again.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p> <div class="hide-print ad-no-notice css-qyun7f-StyledAdUnitWrapper ezkyf1c0" style="box-sizing: border-box; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"> </div> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Carer allowance and disability pension set to increase

<p>Over 936,000 Aussies are set to see a cash boost in the new year, as indexation to government payments takes effect from January. </p> <p>Australians receiving youth, student or carer support will receive a 6 per cent boost to their payments, as additional support to help them navigate the rising cost of living. </p> <p>“Australia’s social security system is a safety net that is continually strengthened and improved to support all vulnerable Australians,” Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said.</p> <p>“Through regular indexation, our payments are adjusted in line with changes in the cost of living to retain their purchasing power.”</p> <p>For over 600,000 carers, the Carer Allowance is set to increase to  $153.50 a fortnight, while the Disability Support Pension for Australians under 21 will increase by $31.10 to $44.90 a fortnight. </p> <p>Youth Allowance payments are also set to increase between $22.40 and $45.60 a fortnight, while Austudy payments will increase by between $36.20 and $45.60. </p> <p>The new year increases are being set into motion after a $40 a fortnight increase to youth and student payment rates, which was effective from September 20. </p> <p>A complete list of the new payment increases can be found on the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/benefits-payments/previous-indexation-rates" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Department of Social Services website</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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‘We lose ourselves’: carers talk about the lonely, stressful work of looking after loved ones

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fleur-sharafizad-1138251">Fleur Sharafizad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/esme-franken-947855">Esme Franken</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/uma-jogulu-1278812">Uma Jogulu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>An informal personal carer is someone who looks after a family member, neighbour or friend in need of care due to disability, illness or age.</p> <p>In Australia, there are approximately 2.8 million informal personal carers, including 906,000 who are primary carers. Projections suggest the national demand for carers will <a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FINAL-Value-of-Informal-Care-22-May-2020_No-CIC.pdf">rise 23% by 2030</a>.</p> <p>Around one in ten Australians are informal carers: <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/informal-carers">most of these unpaid</a>. This group of people support one of society’s most foundational needs and our economy would struggle without them.</p> <p>Yet, little is understood about their experiences. <a href="https://bristoluniversitypressdigital.com/view/journals/ijcc/aop/article-10.1332-239788223X16789866214981/article-10.1332-239788223X16789866214981.xml">Our recent research</a> reveals how this group of carers lack necessary support for their own wellbeing.</p> <h2>Our research</h2> <p>We interviewed 36 informal personal primary carers living across Western Australia and Queensland. Respondents were aged between 34 and 69 years, and had all been the primary carer for a child, parent, partner, or in-law, for between two and 21 years. Data was collected in two waves: one in 2020 and the other in 2021. Respondents were recruited with the help of an Australian carers’ organisation.</p> <h2>‘I’d rather it be someone else’s problem’</h2> <p>Many of the carers we spoke to said they were not caring by choice, but by necessity. They said they feel both unseen and undervalued. A husband who had been caring for his wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s said: "I would rather work. I really don’t like being a carer. I’d rather it be someone else’s problem. Being a carer, you just get forgotten."</p> <p>Carers generally provide care around-the-clock, yet their compensations (such as <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/carer-payment">carer payments</a>) are far from equivalent to full-time pay. The carer payment, for example, equates to only <a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/programs-projects/caring-costs-us/">28% of weekly ordinary time earnings</a> in Australia, and carers can expect to lose <a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/carers-are-17700-worse-off-every-year-in-superannuation-payments/#:%7E:text=Caring%20Costs%20Us%3A%20The%20economic%20impact%20on%20lifetime,every%20year%20they%20are%20in%20that%20caring%20role.">approximately $17,700 in superannuation</a> every year they provide care.</p> <p>Few of <a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/FINAL-Carers-Australia-2023-24-Jan-2023-Budget-Submission.pdf">Carers Australia’s pre-budget submission items</a> to benefit carers were adopted in the most recent federal budget. Instead, the budget contained items which may indirectly benefit carers through <a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/2023-24-Budget-What-it-means-for-carers.pdf">increased support for the cared-for</a>. But these measures do not explicitly recognise and support carers’ wellbeing.</p> <p>Similarly, the recent draft of the <a href="https://www.pmc.gov.au/resources/draft-national-strategy-care-and-support-economy">National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy</a> recognises the contribution informal carers make to Australia’s economy but focuses on paid care and support.</p> <p>Our interviewees spoke about the personal costs of their work, and the stress and loneliness they experience. They shared feelings of being taken for granted as if their role was not work, let alone difficult work.</p> <p>One mum caring for her disabled son shared: "I just want people to see that, [a] carer doesn’t have any leave, paid leave, or recognition. People just think that’s your loved one, that’s your job. But I do want people to understand that I did not choose to be a carer as my career, but I will do it because it is important."</p> <p>This played into a feeling of people losing their sense of self, because caring work was so demanding and time consuming. A mother who had been caring for her daughter for 17 years after she had been involved in an accident said, "People don’t realise how much we put our life on hold to support the people that need that emotional and mental and physical and spiritual support. We put ourselves in the back shed while we’re supporting them, so we lose ourselves."</p> <h2>A mental toll</h2> <p>Many spoke of how they once had individual goals and ambitions, which they now considered unachievable. All of our interviewees had quit jobs and halted careers to take on personal care full-time. One mother caring for her ill child said: "I think if I had a crystal ball, I don’t know that I would perhaps have become a parent, I think I would have just stuck to my corporate life and had a cat and be done with it."</p> <p>The mental health toll experienced by carers in our study was clear throughout all interviews. A mother looking after her child with mental health challenges expressed: "Every carer has mental health impacts from being a carer. They won’t say it’s depression or anxiety, but it’s mental health because when the hierarchy of needs is not being met for you, you can’t provide them for somebody else."</p> <p>As one interviewee explained, the demanding nature of the work had left them exhausted and as though they “can’t do it”. Our interviewees spoke of “falling apart” under the strain of constantly caring for high-needs people in their households.</p> <p>One mother who cared for her children who were both on the autism spectrum recalled: "How many times, if I don’t go to the bathroom and have a shower to cool down myself, I could kill the kids and myself easily. That’s how bad. We are not ever in the category to get help."</p> <h2>Feeling abandoned</h2> <p>Because so much of their work happens in pre-existing relationships and behind closed doors, carers talked about not just feeling unseen but abandoned. A common theme across all interviews was how carers felt abandoned by institutions, health professionals and, in many cases, friends and family members.</p> <p>One husband who had cared for his wife for close to 20 years said: "The government doesn’t even care about the carers […] we’re not really getting anything and then they’re trying to take the crumbs off us."</p> <p>Carers do not have psychological, institutional or social support for themselves as individuals, separate from their role. But these support pillars are necessary so the entire responsibility of care does not fall solely on informal carers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/FINAL-Carers-Australia-2023-24-Jan-2023-Budget-Submission.pdf">Carer-inclusive activities</a> could be a good start. But policy should also be responsive to the unique and unmet needs of carers. These relate to the lack of personal and professional development, feelings of abandonment and social isolation.</p> <p>With an ageing population, a pandemic, and an emerging crisis over the quality of care for older Australians and people with disabilities, the role of informal carers has become increasingly important.</p> <p>The truth is that most of us will likely, at some point, undertake care work or be the person being cared for. Better formalised support for carers will ultimately improve the care for the most vulnerable among us and society as a whole.</p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call <a href="http://lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> on 13 11 14. <a href="https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/about-us/what-we-do/">Carers Australia</a> also offers advice and support.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206409/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fleur-sharafizad-1138251">Fleur Sharafizad</a>, Lecturer in Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/esme-franken-947855">Esme Franken</a>, Lecturer in Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/uma-jogulu-1278812">Uma Jogulu</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Business and Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-lose-ourselves-carers-talk-about-the-lonely-stressful-work-of-looking-after-loved-ones-206409">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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"Most beloved, gorgeous cat in Australia" seeking full-time carer

<p dir="ltr">A Sydney family are seeking the paw-fect candidate to take on the role of cat-sitter for their feline friend, and if their job listing is anything to go by, they’re taking their search quite seriously. </p> <p dir="ltr">The ad, <a href="https://www.seek.com.au/job/67162902?fbclid=IwAR1pARYiDV_TaFy4kqCqf7yFpLNUQupF-Pz9sgAl56Q7JVwx0wX_sg_0_a4">posted to Seek</a>, calls for a “Pet Nanny for an amazing cat” in one of the city’s most affluent Eastern Suburbs. The wording of the job description is familiar enough for anyone who’d nannied in their past, with just the minor catch that their ward would have four legs this time around - and may have them chasing their tail. </p> <p dir="ltr">This “once in a lifetime” opportunity requests serious applicants only for the live-in and full-time position. A room and “all facilities” would be provided, all within a house described as both “wonderful and beautiful”, but for anyone hoping to bring their own pet along with them, this probably isn’t the job for them.</p> <p dir="ltr">The family are firm on candidates having prior experience with cats - the more, the better - and won’t so much as consider an application from someone who’s coming to them without. </p> <p dir="ltr">It makes sense when considering the duties of the position, which range from basic full-time care - with the likes of feeding, playing, and cleaning - to daily health checks, and perhaps most importantly to the cat, constant attention.</p> <p dir="ltr">Professional experience isn’t a must, with the family willing to consider pet owners for the exclusive gig - as long as you have “experience caring for cats” behind you, you’re in with a shot. </p> <p dir="ltr">It should go without saying that a “passion for cats and a deep understanding of their needs” is a must, so self-proclaimed animal lovers may find themselves a step ahead of the pack.</p> <p dir="ltr">The position is full-time, and a schedule will be supplied with rostered days off included. However, the usual catch applies, and hopeful applicants must be willing to work across weekends and holidays.</p> <p dir="ltr">The nitty gritty comes in the form of a valid WWCC (Working with Children Check), a first aid certificate, and police clearance, as well as unrestricted working rights in Australia, and “relevant VISA requirements”. </p> <p dir="ltr">And the listing concludes with another reminder that applicants “MUST have prior experience with animals”, because as any pet owner knows, animals are unique little friends, and it’s always best to know what you’re getting yourself into. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Family & Pets

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5 simple steps to effectively manage carer’s stress

<p>Being a carer for a loved one is a full-time job with plenty of demands – which sometime means you have to make sacrifices, however, carers do what they do because they want to be able to show their love and help out in any way they can. The key to good caring is balance. Health and happiness are necessary otherwise if your mood is constantly low and your energy too, you may end be the one in need of a care. Follow these five tips to help you stay on the healthy and happing side of caring for someone.</p> <p><strong>1. Putting YOU first</strong></p> <p>Carers can’t afford to burnout, which is why you need to make yourself the best you can possibly be. This can be achieved by regularly eating nutritious meals and making sure you get adequate sleep in order to function at your best. Daily exercise, be it walking the dog or a dance class, will also help to make sure you stay fit and to enhance your energy levels. Also make sure you get health checks with your doctor on a regular basis.</p> <p><strong>2. Staying social</strong></p> <p>Isolation increases stress so it’s vital to keep active and social with others. Getting together regularly with friends and relatives reminds you that you always have a support network and it’s also a nice way to catch up, chat and vent about issues.</p> <p><strong>3. Community resources</strong></p> <p>Feel comfortable to look and ask for outside help. There are plenty of service providers that can assist you, including home health aides, carer’s breaks and day trips, training and support, home repair services and plenty of community volunteers. </p> <p><strong>4. Break time</strong></p> <p>Resting and having time out is crucial in order to be a happy healthy carer. Find a hobby and maintain it regularly. Visit friends and relatives who will take over caring duties on the weekend or some weeknights. Also, start thinking about the future and consider that there might come a point that you need to look at a nursing home for the person you are caring for.</p> <p><strong>5. Whole self-awareness</strong></p> <p>Remember to stay positive and avoid negativity at all costs. Remember what you are doing and why you are doing it. The benefits of your help and why you were placed on earth. Embrace life and yearn to make a difference to everyone else’s. Talk to relatives, friends and don’t forget to talk to us too.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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Why carers need time out too

<p>When we think of “aged care”, all too often our thoughts leap to hard-working nurses caring for the elderly, either in respite centres, retirement villages or via in-home care. But what about the unsung heroes of aged care we don’t hear quite so much about?</p> <p>Those unsung heroes are the everyday family and informal carers who take the time to look after an older family member or loved one to ensure they are comfortable – and yet they often do so without receiving the support or help they deserve.</p> <p>In fact, incredibly, there are a surprising number of people in that position who aren't even aware they ARE considered official "carers", and as such are entitled to support for their own health and wellbeing.</p> <p>It’s so important for these carers to be given the chance to take a break from their responsibilities, so that they can continue to look after their loved ones properly.</p> <p>That’s why <a href="https://www.resthaven.asn.au/about-us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Resthaven</a> places such an emphasis on looking to improve the quality of life not just for elderly Australians but also their carers.</p> <p>To this end, they offer quality residential aged care and in-home care services, retirement living, and wellness services in Adelaide and regional South Australia – all while campaigning to challenge the negative stereotypes that often come with aged care, and continuously looking to better their services.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-60627 size-full" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/06/O60_Resthaven-Carer-Photo-1.jpg" alt="Resthaven" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>To begin with, there are a few basic questions that <a href="https://www.resthaven.asn.au/support-for-carers/about-carer-support/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Resthaven</a> asks so that carers are actually aware they are carers in the first place, and therefore entitled to valuable support.</p> <ul> <li>Do you provide daily support to a person without being paid?</li> <li>If you did not provide this support, would this person be unable to complete the tasks themselves? (Support may include shopping, paying bills, assisting with showering, making meals, providing transport etc.)</li> <li>Is the person unsafe when left alone for long periods of time?</li> <li>Has the person been diagnosed with dementia or a severe disability?</li> <li>Is the person you support frail or aged (over 65)?</li> </ul> <p>If any of these situations apply to you, then you are recognised as a carer and are entitled to support for your own health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Resthaven is committed to assisting carers alongside their everyday activities ranging from work, social engagement, an appointment, medical procedure, a volunteer commitment among other things.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-60632" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/06/O60_Resthaven-Carer-Photo-2.jpg" alt="Resthaven" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“A little respite support can sustain carers so they can continue their caring role, and the person they care for can stay living at home for longer,” a Resthaven spokesperson says.</p> <p>“Respite also provides carers and the people they care for with an experience of different care facilities that may be required in the future.”</p> <p>Resthaven offers caring, high-quality services for the person under your care and is also flexible to work around your schedule.</p> <p>The different types of respite on offer from Resthaven include:</p> <p><strong>In-home Respite<br /></strong>If the older person you’re caring for prefers to stay in their home, then Resthaven staff provide assistance by supporting their lifestyle. Support and activities are tailored depending on each individual as well as their needs, interests and requirements.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-60628 size-full" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/06/O60_Resthaven-Carer-Photo-4.jpg" alt="Resthaven" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><strong>Group Respite</strong><br />Older people who are involved in group programs are able to take advantage of social clubs and group outings offered by Resthaven.</p> <p><strong>Respite Cottages</strong><br /><a href="https://www.resthaven.asn.au/carer-respites/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Respite cottages</a> are perfect for a day or short-term overnight getaway in one of Resthaven’s home-style environments. Respite cottages tailor planned group respite programs during the day according to the attendees’ needs and preferences. There is no minimum stay, instead a maximum stay of two weeks.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-60579" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/06/O60_Toorak-Respite-Cottage.jpg" alt="Resthaven" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><strong>Carer Support Groups</strong><br />Carer Support Groups provide information, referrals, support groups, social groups, therapy and allied health services and counselling.</p> <p><strong>Residential Respite</strong><br /><a href="https://www.resthaven.asn.au/carer-respites/residential-respite/#map" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Residential respite</a> is available at any of Resthaven’s aged care homes across South Australia, with a minimum stay of two weeks to a maximum 63 days per year. Based on a member’s government assessment process and availability, a suitable place in Resthaven is then considered. A short period of residential respite offers carers the opportunity to have a break, a holiday, or simply some time out from their busy schedule. The person being cared for will be able to access the benefits of the site’s activities, social programs, library and internet café.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-60630 size-full" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/06/O60_Resthaven-Carer-Photo-3.jpg" alt="Resthaven" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>So if you’re in need of support or would simply like to know more about Resthaven’s aged care options, now’s the time to find out how they can be of service to you.</p> <p><em>All images: Courtesy of Resthaven.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a href="https://www.resthaven.asn.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Resthaven</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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The truth about becoming a foster carer while retired

<p dir="ltr">Foster care is something not many retirees think about or consider due to misunderstandings of how the system works. </p> <p dir="ltr">The rewarding potential of foster care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable kids and young people is endless and can easily fit into your lifestyle.  </p> <p dir="ltr">Susan Barton AM, Founder of Lighthouse Foundation, a Melbourne not-for-profit organisation, says the misconceptions about foster care needs to be cleared up. </p> <p dir="ltr">She spoke to <em>Over60</em> about the benefits and how to become a foster carer.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What sort of support is available for those wanting to foster while retired?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">I’m very proud of the support Lighthouse Foundation offers to our carers, including those who want to foster while retired. Our carers should never feel alone. There’s always a helping hand nearby or a sympathetic ear ready to listen at the end of the phone.</p> <p dir="ltr">All our carers can use our ‘Hub Home’ – a central place to access support and services for themselves and the children they look after. This ‘Hub Home’ unites foster carers in a local area and is a safe and warm place for children and families to receive therapeutic care and access trauma informed support and advice.</p> <p dir="ltr">As an organisation we place significant importance on the role of community and community support. By creating a central space through our ‘Hub Home’, our aim is to allow carers to develop friendships, build support systems, learn from one another, and interact with those going through the same experiences.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ‘Hub Home’ is also used for respite care. All carers need a break every now and again. A few days off, gives a foster carer the chance to recuperate and return well rested and ready to give their all to the role. In-home carers are another great support system offered by Lighthouse Foundation. This is where someone comes to your home and provides a helping hand - they can demonstrate, or explain, anything from the physical work requirements of the role, to how to go about caring for a young person, and how to respond to certain situations. And, we also have team of psychologists who are on hand for foster carers to lean on for support.</p> <p dir="ltr">We never want our carers to feel isolated or overwhelmed. We think of Lighthouse Foundation as an extended family and our aim is for everybody to feel loved and supported.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How long is the process to become a foster carer when retired?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The process takes between six to 12 months – depending on the pace you set for yourself. As soon as you begin the process, you’ll be invited to access a number of support groups and training opportunities and receive regular contact from Lighthouse Foundation. So, while it takes time to become a qualified carer, you’ll feel included and part of the Lighthouse Foundation family almost instantly.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How does the retiree benefit from foster care? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">There are so many ways to benefit from fostering, and I speak from personal experience! As a carer you’re making a significant difference to the life of a young person but you’re also serving yourself by spending time with a younger generation. Being a positive presence in a young person’s life, especially one who’s had a difficult start to life, is a really beautiful thing and greatly enhances your own life experience. It gives you a greater perspective, a renewed purpose, a sharper focus and really shows how precious life is. It can be truly energising. There are endless ways in which you feel and experience life differently once you’ve fostered a young person. Of course, it’s not always easy, but retirees have so much life experience to share with young people and can be some of the best, most effective carers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How many different types of foster care are available? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Foster care is more varied than people believe.</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Respite care is where a carer provides a child with regular and/or occasional time away from the primary carer so the primary carer can have a short period of restorative time. As a respite carer you might care for a child on the weekend, or for one week a month, or every couple of months.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Emergency care, on the other hand, may occur in the event of a crisis where a child or sibling group require urgent overnight care. In this type of care, you may have the child for a few days or even a week, but the intended goal is to move the child to a more permanent carer.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Short term care can last from a few weeks to months, with the intention of returning the child to their family of origin as quickly as possible.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Finally, long term care, which is six months or longer, is where you really commit to becoming a stable, loving and nurturing influence in a young person’s life.</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">It’s possible for children to switch between foster care requirements and as you go through training to become a carer, you’ll discover what level of care you’re best suited to. We sometimes encourage new carers to dip their toe in the pool of foster care by starting with shorter placements. This helps carers gain experience before moving on to more permanent care and longer placements.</p> <p>Returning the young person to their family of origin is always the intended goal of foster care – this is something many people don’t realise. Sometimes this happens quickly, and other times children will be with a carer for much longer. As a carer you have agency to choose the type of care that works best for you.</p> <p><strong>How much time do you need to commit to foster care?</strong></p> <p>This varies depending on the type of foster care you decide works best for you. What’s most important is that you’re consistent and flexible in your commitment to caring for a young person.</p> <p>If you choose to become a respite carer, you’ll be paired with a child who you’ll see regularly and repetitively. You’ll become a part of that child’s support network, potentially seeing them once a month over two years, for example. While there’s no set amount of time you need to set aside to foster, carers must be reliable and committed to building both rapport and a long-term relationship with the child they care for.<br /><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/04/Screen-Shot-2022-04-26-at-3.09.18-pm.png" alt="" width="964" height="1140" /><br /><strong>Will I be rejected as a carer because of my age?</strong></p> <p>I’m 75 and I’d still be considered as a carer so there really isn’t an age limit. Respite care is a great place to start as a retiree – and in some ways it’s a bit like having your grandkids for the weekend. </p> <p dir="ltr">You might find you have a lot of energy and resilience and that the experience is really rewarding. As a retiree you might also have a significant amount of time to commit and be able to offer a young person the long- term stability and relationship they so desperately require. </p> <p dir="ltr">Having an older respite carer is such an amazing opportunity for a young person too. For example, retirees will be able to offer time and support that other longer-term carers can’t. You might be able to guide a child through the process of looking for a job, completing a school project or mastering a hobby they love.</p> <p><strong>Can you foster a child if you’re single?</strong></p> <p>Of course! Your relationship status is part of the assessment when applying to become a carer, along with other factors like how resilient you are as a single parent, whether you’re financially stable and whether you live alone and attend work. Each child and carer will have varied individual needs, which we understand. We try and match you with a child whose requirements fit your lifestyle, and the special characteristics and life experience you have to offer.</p> <p><strong>Do you need a large home to be a foster carer?</strong></p> <p>A spare bedroom is (almost) all you need! We match you based on your individual situation. For example, if you’re really courageous and want to take on a sibling group of three or four children, of course we’d love you to have a fair bit of room. But if you’re caring for an individual young person, perhaps a teenager, who loves to spend time reading or on their computer, there’s less need for big open spaces for them to run around in.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Can you back out of foster care if it’s not the right fit? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">You can always change your mind. Foster care is a really rewarding experience for the right person, so we’d never put you or the child through something if it wasn’t quite right.</p> <p dir="ltr">We hope that by the time you’ve completed the training you’re well-resourced to make an informed decision about becoming a carer. We guide you along the way and can offer advice on what might fit best with your lifestyle.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even when you have a child in your care, there’s an option to finish your placement. Lighthouse will always support your decision and to help find solutions to challenging situations. We hate to lose loving carers, so we’ll encourage you to consider alternatives. Downshifting from full-time care, to respite care is not uncommon and can enable you to remain in a child’s life in a new capacity</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Can you foster a child on a single income or pension? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Yes! We’re not concerned about the amount of money you have but we will ask that you’re financially stable and able to meet the needs of the young person in your care. Carers do get a stipend to help support the needs of the young person too.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Can you nominate the age of the child you’d like to foster? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">You can put forward your preferences, and Lighthouse Foundation will try to match you accordingly. Maintaining flexibility and an open mind are key though. For example, you may have a preference for an older child, but some children are independent and capable beyond their years, and could make for a good match. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Retirement Life

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How to care for ageing parents: Strategies for the sandwich generation

<p><strong>The burden of the sandwich generation</strong></p><p>Mum hurt her foot. That’s the only detail you can lure out of her over the phone, which right now makes the distance between the two of you feel that much farther. She’s limping and doesn’t want to go to a doctor.</p><p>Instead, she wants you to look at it, ignoring the fact that you have a full-time job, two kids and, oh yeah, you live three hours away. Sound familiar? Managing the seniors in your life, whether it’s helping them through their health problems or clearing up insurance issues, is the burden of the sandwich generation.</p><p>So how can you care for ageing parents when you’re far from home and juggling the responsibility of raising your own family? Here are some strategies from professional caregivers that can help you to help them – even if you live on opposite sides of the country.</p><p><strong>Make a plan for senior care before it becomes an issue</strong></p><p>“The older generation can be secretive, but the sandwich generation is more open and aware that communication is important,” says Karen Seebach, a nurse advisor with a caregiver support service.</p><p>“You need to have a conversation in advance about what they would like to do as they age. Do they want to stay in their home? Does someone have power of attorney? These conversations are very important to start early on.”</p><p><strong>Read between the lines</strong></p><p>Dad says he’s fine on the phone, but you suspect he’s not taking his medications. The litmus test? Look for a change in the way he communicates.</p><p>“If a parent is usually chatty and has become quieter, that’s something you need to pay attention to,” says Luanne Whitmarsh, chief executive officer at an organisation assisting seniors. Inconsistent communication from your ageing parent is a red flag that warrants deeper investigation.</p><p><strong>Create a support network</strong></p><p>You might be tempted to take the day off work to check out that sore foot your mum was complaining about – and you’re not alone. Many caregivers who live more than a half day’s travel away from their ill parent are missing full days of work to help provide care.</p><p>Instead, get to know the people who interact with your ageing parents day to day. “Become familiar with the neighbours or a house cleaner or something like that,” suggests Whitmarsh. “This way, they can give you the real information you may not be getting.”</p><p><strong>Research senior outreach services</strong></p><p>“The more isolated a senior becomes, the more risk there is,” says Joanne Toller, senior fund developer with a seniors resource group.</p><p>She suggests doing homework on behalf of your ageing parents to find outreach services in their area or organisations that can provide referrals to services that can help seniors with day-to-day tasks. These might include driving services, foot care clinics (look for brochures at doctor’s offices and walk-in clinics) and meal delivery services.</p><p>More support can be found by making inquiries with the local municipal government, service clubs and churches.</p><p><strong>Speak with your own doctor</strong></p><p>Mum’s sounding much more confused lately and you’re worried about dementia. You could call your mum’s physician to discuss the issue, or, as Whitmarsh suggests, you could express your concerns to your own doctor, with whom you already have a relationship.</p><p>Explain what you’ve observed and share the contact information for your mother’s doctor. “Doctor to doctor, they have a way better way of communicating and have a given level of trust,” Whitmarsh says.</p><p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p><p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/relationships/how-to-care-for-ageing-parents-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Medical carers bribed to make fake vaccination certificates

<p>A growing number of medical staff say they have been bribed to create fake vaccine certificates for anti-vaxxers and those who are hesitant about getting the jab.</p> <p>While the issue remains a concern for health and government staff around the country, the trend has most recently taken hold in Adelaide.</p> <p>The vaccination has long been touted as the ticket back to normality, with many activities Aussies once took for granted soon to be off limits without proof of a double dose.</p> <p>But now, reports are surfacing that many are trying to cheat the system, attempting to bribe medical staff to falsify their vaccination forms.</p> <p>Alarmed by the idea, health professionals are speaking out. One nurse who was recently propositioned said a patient waited until the pair were alone in a room and offered money in exchange for a fake certificate.</p> <p>“I’ve had a couple but the last one waited until my colleague left the room,” Sharon said.</p> <p>“As soon as the door was shut (they) said ‘how much? How much for you to say you’ve done it, and not do it?’</p> <p>“We’re getting towards the stage where it’s getting quite typical.”</p> <p>Any clinicians caught obliging face hefty penalties.</p> <p>Doctors have weighed in on the issue, saying that not only is the process highly unethical but also selfish and illegal.</p> <p>“Frankly, the book needs to be thrown. It’s incredibly selfish, they could catch it, pass it onto somebody else and the consequences for that person may be huge. They could get extremely sick or die.”</p> <p>South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens cast double over whether any “self-respecting” health professional would create the dodgy documents but warned action would be taken against those caught.</p> <p>Authorities say that fake vaccination documents are now at the top of their agenda particularly among workers who are legally required to have had the jab.</p>

Caring

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Carers at Epping Gardens break silence over deadly outbreak

<p>A group of aged care workers who came under fire for holding an “unauthorised” baby shower at their facility days before a deadly outbreak occurred have finally broken their silence. </p> <p>Heritage Care, owner of aged cared facility Epping Gardens, referred six of its carers to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency over the baby shower on July 16, claiming it was unauthorised.</p> <p>The first case of COVID-19 at the facility was found days later.</p> <p>The cluster ended up taking the lives of 38 residents.</p> <p>But the carers claim management knew of the baby shower as well as a birthday celebration that took place at the facility two days later.</p> <p>Appearing on A Current Affair, the carers made a series of allegations saying a COVID-19 outbreak was inevitable.</p> <p>Only two nurses were on duty at Epping Gardens when the Australian Defence Force took over in late July.</p> <p>Speaking to ACA reporter Christine Ahern, the carers who chose to stay anonymous painted a picture of confusion, chaos and a lack of infection control before the virus took place.</p> <p>And most seriously, one carer, Renee* alleges that she was required to continue working as she waited for the results of a COVID-19 test.</p> <p>"They say, 'you are waiting, you can work'," Renee* said.</p> <p>Jade* another carer was also told she needed to continue working after coming into contact with a COVID-positive resident.</p> <p>"They said to me, 'do you have symptoms?' And I said, 'no, I don't have symptoms.' And they said, 'don't worry, you have to go upstairs, you have to work today'."</p> <p>Jade* refused to work and tested positive the following day.</p> <p>She hasn't been back to Epping Gardens since.</p> <p>Renee* was also told to stop wearing a mask because it was scaring the residents.</p> <p>"(The manager said) 'just throw your mask in the bin… you're scaring the consumers and they think we're sick'," Renee* said.</p> <p>Heritage Care CEO Greg Reeve declined to comment when contacted by A Current Affair.</p> <p>*Carers names have been changed.</p>

Travel Trouble

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Carer found guilty of assaulting 81-year-old dementia patient

<p><span>A carer who punched her 81-year-old dementia patient in Wollongong has been described by a magistrate as “disturbing” and “nasty”.</span></p> <p><span>On Thursday, Alicia Gawronski was found guilty of common assault and intimidation of Gladys Buchanan in August last year.</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski, who had been working as the live-in carer for Buchanan in her Thirroul home in New South Wales’ south coast, could be heard yelling and swearing at the patient in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/alicia-gawronski-guilty-of-punching-81-yo-dementia-patient/11660182" target="_blank">two videos recorded by police</a> outside the elderly woman’s home.</span></p> <p><span>“You are full of s**t,” Gawronski said. “No-one is going to believe someone who is full of s**t and has got dementia, remember that.”</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski also made some threats, including: “If you keep behaving like this, you’ll be going to a nursing home, and I’m going to make sure it’s the worst one available.”</span></p> <p><span>Sounds of slapping and screaming could also be heard in the video.</span></p> <p><span>Buchanan’s neighbour Stephen Leebold called the police after hearing the noise coming from the house.</span></p> <p><span>“There was no way you would talk to a human being like that unless you were trying to denigrate them,” Leebold said.</span></p> <p><span>Senior Constable Brack Lipinski, one of the police officers who responded to the triple zero call, said he saw Buchanan sitting on the floor without her pants on before Gawronski punched her in the leg.</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski said at the court that the slapping noise came from her hitting herself in an attempt to gain Buchanan’s attention.</span></p> <p><span>“Me slapping myself to get her attention, when she goes into these episodes she is not there anymore, it is quite heartbreaking,” she said. “But I am trying to get her to come back.”</span></p> <p><span>She also defended her threats, saying they were akin to “Aussie larrikin pub talk” and not meant to “scare” Buchanan. </span></p> <p><span>“It wasn’t in a sense to upset or scare her, but she didn’t want to go and it got to a point where I couldn’t care for her then she would have to go,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>Magistrate Roger Clisdell said Gawronski was “delusional” for assuming that her physical and verbal abuse against the elderly woman was normal behaviour.</span></p> <p><span>“One could go so far as to say the tone is poisonous, nasty, threatening, mean-spirited,” Magistrate Clisdell said.</span></p> <p><span>“To say what happened that night was ‘disturbing’ was to put it mildly. She was abused and threatened.”</span></p> <p><span>The magistrate said Gawronski had “reached the end of her tether and she was incapable of looking after Ms Buchanan” after rejecting a geriatrician’s advice to put the patient in high supported care.</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski will receive her sentence in December.</span></p>

Legal

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Who cares for the carers?

<p><em><strong>Barbara Binland is the pen name of a senior, Julie Grenness, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is a poet, writer, and part-time English and Maths tutor, with over 40 years of experience. Her many books are available on Amazon and Kindle.</strong></em></p> <p>Are you a carer? It might not be the retirement you planned, now you are over sixty. Sometimes people can become accidental caregivers for a husband, a wife, a geriatric parent, a significant other, or for your adult children, for any health or disability issue.</p> <p>So, who cares for the carers? Caregivers are a silent army, largely invisible in their working environment. If your to-do list is daily expanding, you may wake up exhausted. It is hard to acknowledge the demands of your role as a carer. You must take care of you own health. Carers need to cut corners, such as obtaining frozen or home delivery meals. You can automate grocery shopping, have it home delivered. If finances permit, you can engage the services of a gardener. There is support from the local council for domestic tasks, and for caregiving needs, such as showering the caree.</p> <p>Primarily, in Australia, government departments, such as the Department of Human Services, or the Department of Health, can be consulted to assess the caree, and assess the needs to keep them in their own home. One service is My Aged Care Services, or MACS. The carer can have the caree appraised, to ascertain the level of ongoing support and available services needed to keep aging people in their own home.</p> <p>Essentially, a carer must take care of their own wellbeing, or there is no one to care for your caree. It is a good idea to maintain some personal exercise program, and to keep your own medical appointments. You can inform your GP that you are a carer, and enlist his/her support. Where possible, you can seek to pursue your own hobbies and interests. Rest is best.</p> <p>If you are feeling isolated in your role as a carer, there are online support groups. If your caree becomes high maintenance, you and the doctor can explore respite care, or enlist a support team to monitor the domestic situation, and give you a break.</p> <p>Ultimately, who cares for carers? If you wake up in the morning, and the car started, just think, “The assassins failed again!” Rise and shine, accentuate the positive. Nothing lasts forever, carers must take care of themselves!</p>

Caring

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Why respite care is so important for informal carers

<p><em><strong>Marissa Sandler is the CEO and co-founder of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.careseekers.com.au/" target="_blank">Careseekers</a></span>. Previously a social justice lawyer and researcher for over 15 years, Marissa is passionate about helping people live with dignity and finding innovative solutions to problems.</strong></em></p> <p>The end of the year is a great time of year, no school traffic, quiet streets and most of Australia takes a break. However, if you are an informal carer this may not be the case. Caring is a full-time job and doesn’t stop because its summer or Christmas or New Years. It is however very important that as a carer you do take a break. The best way to do this is by engaging respite care services of some description.</p> <p>Here are some fast facts to read about respite care so that you can take a break over the festive season.</p> <p><strong>What is respite care?</strong></p> <p>Respite care is care that is taken over by someone else to relieve an informal carer of their care giving duties for a loved one.</p> <p><strong>How does it work?</strong></p> <p>Respite care can be delivered in many forms.</p> <p><strong>1. Respite care in the home</strong> – A care or support worker can come into your home and take the load off you by looking after a loved one for a few short hours or even a few days/weeks. Connecting directly to care and support workers on platforms like <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.careseekers.com.au/" target="_blank">Careseekers</a></strong></span> is one way to find people who deliver respite care services.</p> <p><strong>2. Respite care in the community</strong> – Most local communities have adult day centres or neighbourhood centres where a loved one can go for the day. They will do casual drop ins as well on days when you may be feeling extra frazzled.</p> <p><strong>3. Residential based respite care</strong> – This type of centre enables loved ones to stay for an extended period of time – a few weeks and can be helpful if you need to travel.</p> <p><strong>4. Family or friend care respite</strong> – Close family and friends may be available to help you, especially if you open up and explain your situation and how additional help would lighten your load. There are also organisations who can send a volunteer to do some respite care.</p> <p>Emergency respite care and information on other types of respite care is available through <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/caring-someone/respite-care" target="_blank">My Aged Care</a></strong></span> or  <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.carergateway.gov.au/what-is-respite-care?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn5rRgJTo1wIVRyQrCh3uXQGuEAAYAiAAEgIomfD_BwE" target="_blank">The Carer Gateway</a></strong></span>.</p> <p><strong>Real life story</strong></p> <p>It was difficult for Cathy to watch her vivacious, opinionated mother Mary spiral into the depths of dementia. As her mother deteriorated further, Dora and her siblings assessed their options. They were adamant about keeping Mary at home. Luckily Cathy was able to move in with her mother and take on a full time caring role.</p> <p>Caring can be exhausting and Cathy soon found she needed some time out. With her other siblings unable to help, the family decided to hire in-home care workers. During her time off Cathy would book into a hotel and just have some down time. It made all the difference to the type of carer she was to her mum during the week. “It really recharged me for the week ahead. I was more patient and as a result mum was happier. If you are a full-time carer for a loved one you just have to have some time out.”</p>

Caring

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4 unwanted thoughts every carer has at least once

<p>Looking after a partner, family member or friend as a carer is a demanding, often unappreciated job. Many people who find themselves in a carer’s role do so without much support, meaning that they can find it hard to take time off for themselves.</p> <p>The thing to remember as a carer is that you are not alone. If you are having thoughts like the ones below, you are not a bad person. You are a human. Read through our list and see if you identify with any of these internal monologues.</p> <p><strong>1. When are they just going to die?</strong></p> <p>Yes, let’s start with that doozy. Watching a loved one suffer through illness can be heartbreaking, and often we feel that death would release both of you from the pain. Wishing that they would ‘let go’ and die does not make you a terrible, morbid person. It’s very normal to think these thoughts. Finding someone to speak with, whether it’s a psychologist or a trusted friend, can really help reduce the stress that being a carer can bring.</p> <p><strong>2. Nobody appreciates what I do</strong></p> <p>Many people under care don’t even realise that what you are doing is a selfless act of love. They can be caught up in mental health problems, or pain, and lash out at you or be cruel and bossy. The situation you’ve found yourself in has become one where you give and give without getting much back.</p> <p>In this situation it may be time to put your hand up and ask for some extra support so that you can have a well-earned break. This may be other family members stepping in to assist you, a formalised paid carer coming in to offer you a chance to take time off, or just a one off break for a few weeks to go on holiday or do something for yourself.</p> <p><strong>3. It breaks my heart to see them like this, I don’t know if I can keep going</strong></p> <p>When you are caring for someone, it can be hard to see them in such a fragile state. Especially if you saw them strong and healthy in years past. Being a carer can take its toll on your mental and physical health, and it’s important to check-in with your own GP regularly. Carers are at risk of depression and burnout; so if you need to speak with someone about how you are feeling, don’t put it off.</p> <p><strong>4. All I do is give and give. What about my needs?</strong></p> <p>Looking after elderly parents can feel like a strange role reversal, and this role often comes with a lot of baggage from past hurts. It can feel as though you are being belittled, or that you can’t do anything right, and the chance of getting a ‘thanks’ for your hard work is minimal. In this situation, if you feel that the carer role is too much for you, it may be time to seek some help on a permanent basis.  You can’t keep going and risk your own health. If it feels like there is a problem there probably is, so reach out to carer support networks, other family members, and find suitable care for your loved one to help ease the load for yourself.</p> <p>Are you a carer who has had any thoughts like this? How did you cope? We would love to hear from you in the comments.</p>

Caring

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How to prepare yourself for becoming a carer

<p>If you or somebody that you know is a caregiver in a part or full-time capacity, you’ll know just how hard it can be. It often gets more difficult as time goes on, and many carers leave it quite late before they ask for help.</p> <p>A way to prepare for this situation is to plan ahead when the caregiving commences, so that everyone involved is on the same page about their role. Steps can be taken in advance to set up your home and have some house rules so that everyone knows where they stand.</p> <p><strong>1. Make preparations for the carer to have regular breaks</strong></p> <p>Often it can feel as though the carer has sacrificed everything in terms of their time, social life and privacy for the person they are caring for. It’s very important never to allow someone to become a 24/7 carer as this puts enormous pressure on them. They need regular breaks – both throughout the day/night, as well as time off for a holiday away from the home. This is where third party support services can come in handy, or perhaps another family member can step in.</p> <p><strong>2. Ensure privacy for everyone</strong></p> <p>Privacy should be a top priority for the carer, the elderly person, as well as anyone else in the home. That means that if you are moving dad into your home, he will need his own space to sleep and relax. This may mean using some of their money to build a granny flat or small extension. Suddenly having a sick or elderly person in the house can be disruptive for other family members, so allowing them to have their own space allows everyone to do their own thing. Try to set them up so that they can (if appropriate) have social outlets away from you, for instance heading out to a men’s shed or club.</p> <p><strong>3. Set up their space for a good night’s sleep</strong></p> <p>Some elderly people can find their sleep disrupted to do their illness, anxiety or medication. Ensure that their room is set up with a comfortable bed, blackout blinds so that it’s nice and dark, adequate heating and cooling so that they’re comfortable, and appropriate sleepwear so they’re not too hot or cold.</p> <p><strong>4. Prepare for the future</strong></p> <p>It’s easy to think about what your elderly mum needs right now, but you actually need to be thinking in advance about her needs. For instance, perhaps she is fine to get into a bathtub now to have a shower, but eventually she may find that difficult. Could you budget and plan for a bathroom renovation that may allow for wheelchair access? Thinking ahead gives you time and the mental headspace to get ready for the next stage. For instance, illnesses such as dementia can deteriorate quickly. Speak with the doctor to get a rough idea of the timeline of their condition to help you make plans.</p> <p><strong>5. Determine your deal-breakers</strong></p> <p>There’s no need to expect to be a carer for the rest of the elderly patient’s life. Sit down and work out exactly how far you are willing to go in terms of care. For instance, if there are issues with bladder or bowel control, that could be a point where a nursing home may be required. Will your elderly father in law eventually need to be lifted in and out of bed, and are you strong enough to do that for the next five years? Safety is another concern – if you are worried that their mental capacity to raise the alarm in case of fire isn’t there, or you’re concerned that they may wander off onto a busy road, this could be a sign that you are in over your head.</p> <p>Have you got any tips or advice for carers based on your own experience? We would love to hear from you in the comments.</p>

Caring

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Why every over-60 should have a pet

<p>Much has been written about the positive impacts pets can have on our health and how they can enrich our lives at any age, but as we grow older, the benefits of owning a cat, dog, or other animal companion only become better and more important – they could even keep you out of an aged care home. Here’s why.</p> <p>As we enter our 70s, 80s and beyond, our lifestyles tend to become much more sedentary. No longer are we running around from work to the supermarket to dinner then to drinks, meaning a lot of the incidental exercise we do throughout the day (that is, the exercise we do without even realising it – think climbing stairs and walking to and from the train station) doesn’t happen.</p> <p>For pet owners, it’s a whole different story. Owning a dog, for instance, comes with the responsibility of keeping them active. “People walk because they want their dog to get exercise, and without realising it, they get theirs,” Rebecca Johnson, nurse gerontologist and director at the Research Centre for Human/Animal Interaction, tells <a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/health-benefits-pets-older-adults/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Next Avenue</span></strong></a>.</p> <p>A <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/doi/10.1093/geront/gnw051/2632039/Dog-Walking-the-Human-Animal-Bond-and-Older-Adults" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">recent study</span></strong></a> also found other welcome benefits of taking your pooch around the block. “Dog walking was associated with lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise,” researchers concluded. Spending time with dogs also makes us less likely to get sick, more resistant to allergies, lowers heart rate and blood pressure.</p> <p>But it’s not just our physical health that can benefit from a fluffy friend. The longer we live, the more hard times we inevitably live through, and the deaths of loved ones, illness and other bad news can be shattering for even the most mentally strong person. A pet is a wonderful companion during these rough patches, as they provide quiet, calming and completely non-judgemental support.</p> <p>And dogs aren’t the only ones. 64-year-old registered nurse Beverly Roberts and husband George believe their Maine Coon mix Anthony and tabby cat Boots are equally as good as dogs when it comes to emotional support. “Cats are very independent, and sometimes you feel they’re the boss of the house,” she tells Next Avenue. “But they can sense feelings. They can be very aloof, but not to us. If we’re sick and in bed, they watch over us. And when they sit on your lap, you feel like your stress is being released.”</p> <p>How has your pet enriched your life over 60? Share your experience with us in the comments below.</p>

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