Community Support Coordinator, Nicole, 50, Ipswich, has been serving as her Uncle Dudley’s primary carer for more than a decade.
When her Uncle Dudley, 96, Ipswich, who served in the Papua New Guinean airforce during World War II, was diagnosed with the progressive neurological disease, Parkinson’s disease, Nicole invited him to move in with her and her Dad, to offer him love and care.
Over the years however, Nicole has watched the neurological disease cruelly rob her Uncle Dudley of his independence, to the extent that he now requires support with daily activities, such as showering, walking, eating, and getting in and out of bed.
Playing full-time carer to her Uncle Dudley has imposed a physical, emotional and financial toll on Nicole.
Fortunately, for the past two years, Nicole and her family have been the recipients of Queensland Health funding, which they have been utilising to meet the ongoing care needs for Uncle Dudley, via Alzheimer’s Queensland’s ‘Working Carer’s Program’. Run by the Ipswich Multi Service Centre, the Program, which is designed to support the carer who is working, volunteering or studying, in their role, with the provision of high quality, safe and effective services, has given Nicole some much-needed respite, while also allowing her to continue to financially provide for her family.
This is Nicole’s story.
Following her Uncle Dudley’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease more than a decade ago, Nicole chose to access the In-home Working Carer’s Program run by Alzheimer’s Queensland, to access professional care, services, and support. During one of the in-home visits, Nicole learned about the Working Carer’s Program.
The Working Carer’s Program offers both day centre respite and in-home support services. Nicole has been utilising the Program’s in-home support services, three days a week for over 2.5 years, to care for Uncle Dudley.
“The Working Carer’s Program has allowed Uncle Dudley to continue to live with Dad and I, in the comfort of home. It has also enabled me to continue to give back to the local community in my role as a Community Support Coordinator.
“In addition, in-home respite offers me temporary relief from the demands of caring, and the prevention of Uncle Dudley’s premature admission to a residential aged care facility, and potential hospital admission,” said Nicole.
The in-home program supports Uncle Dudley with positive ageing and wellbeing, by offering him emotional, mental and physically stimulating conversation and activities, and meal preparation to maintain his nutrition and hydration.
“The Working Carer’s Program has absolutely changed my life. I don’t know where I would be, or what options I would be facing, had I been unable to access the Program,” Nicole said.
Given the financial burden involved with caring for someone living with Parkinson’s disease, the Working Carer’s Program helps to alleviate many associated costs. Without the service, Nicole would be reliant upon full-time, professional care for Uncle Dudley, or funding his full-time placement in an expensive, aged care facility, against his will.
“My life is totally dependent on respite carers. Without their help, I would be unable to attend work, which is extremely important to me,” Nicole said.
Both Uncle Dudley’s and Nicole’s mental health and wellbeing have improved since gaining access to the Working Carer’s Program. Uncle Dudley has the opportunity to socialise with other people attending his home, and to participate in engaging and stimulating activities throughout the day.
Meanwhile, the Program arms Nicole with some precious time to herself, to both work, and catch up with her friends, with the peace of mind that “there is always someone just a call away.”
Nicole has a simple message for other working primary carer’s living in the West Moreton region.
“If you are working primary carer wishing to share the care for a loved one in need, be sure to enquire about the Ipswich Multi Service Centre’s Working Carer’s Program. Their services are simply invaluable.”
The Ipswich Multi Service Centre’s Working Carer’s Program is now available, free of charge, up until June 30, 2022, to those juggling work, volunteer or study-related commitments. The program offers day respite, small social outings and in-home support services for the carer.
To register for complimentary access to the Working Carer’s Program in West Moreton up until June 30, 2022, please call 1800 639 331 (between 8:30am to 4:30pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org