Real life story - carer for mum
Story of a young First Nations carer looking after her mum
Sierra: My name is Sierra. I’m 24 years old. I live in Bathurst. I’m a proud Wiradjuri woman.
I’ve been a carer since I was 9 years old. I originally shared a caring role with my elder sister but I’ve been the sole carer for several years now.
I get up nice and early, get my mum up and out of bed, help her with breakfast and medication. As her memory has started to decrease, I help her. Just little reminders for little things that we take for granted, you know: got to go the toilet after you wake up in the morning, make your bed, get dressed.
I sit her down, get her breakfast, make a tea or coffee and then, get myself dressed and ready for the day. I often have classes, up at the university, so I’ll head off to Uni. Often I’ll have mum with me and there’s a centre at the uni where she can spend her time while I’m in classes and they can keep an eye on her for me.
I check on mum periodically throughout my day and then when I am finished, I go and collect her and we head home. I will make dinner, get mum all sorted with her medication and then, sit down and get some homework done, after dinner. And then, I start it all over again.
The challenges come in a lot of different forms, from not being able to be as free with your social life as other young people and not being able to take opportunities when they present to you. You know, you can’t go away on internships because who’s going to look after them while you’re gone and mum doesn’t feel comfortable with other people coming in when she’s not feeling her best.
I heard about Carer Gateway through the TV and Centrecare Wilcannia – Forbes. (I wanted) to seek help and see if there was anything that Carer Gateway could help with that maybe Centrecare could not. I was lucky enough to match with my caseworker, Stacey and we get along really well. She’s been able to help me with a lot of things, which I really appreciated.
Carer Gateway has been able to support me with things around the house. Even if you think you don’t need help with anything, just having someone there to chat who understands and is happy to talk is incredibly helpful. They may recognise that you need help with something that maybe you didn’t notice you were struggling with.
Stacey has been invaluable in helping me set up my aged care and help guide mum through the process in a way that respects her wishes while also giving me the support that I need.
I found that Carer Gateway is incredibly culturally appropriate. They are very understanding of my own cultural needs, how important it is for me to be involved in my local community and my local mob. I spend a lot of time with the local aboriginal community, going back to the roots of where I come from and where I want to go with my life.
When our mob is strong, we are strong. Reach out to Carer Gateway.