Real Carers Real Stories – Elaine
Elaine, who came to Australia from Malaysia over 30 years ago, is a full-time carer for two of her three children; 26 year old Carmen who has an intellectual disability and is deaf, and 23 year old James who lives with autism and has limited speech capacity.
Elaine has a business, so juggling full time care responsibilities and her business demands means she has little time for herself.
'I know I have to look after myself so that I can keep caring for my children, so I’ve taken up line dancing for two hours twice a week to help keep me mentally healthy and fit.
'I heard about Carer Gateway from a respite service that is no longer in operation. Going online to check out their services was easy, and I found a service that could provide standby carers for emergencies. It is comforting to know that I have this kind of backstop.'
While Elaine had some reassurance that emergency respite was available, it was more important for her to access personal support, especially from people from Asian backgrounds who could understand her culture and language and could share confidences. Again Carer Gateway proved very useful.
'Given how busy I am, I need to get the information quickly, and when I need it. Carer Gateway certainly delivered as I was able to get information about an organisation that offers support for carers with Asian backgrounds.
'I meet with a group once a month and exchange information, have guest speakers and participate in various activities such as lunch and flower arranging.
'The fact that people in this group speak Chinese is a great support for me as not only do they implicitly understand me, we can also share our experiences and coping strategies within a culturally relevant context.'
Elaine also continues to explore Carer Gateway with her group when they meet as she values the range of services and information constantly being discovered.
'We usually go to the Carer Gateway website when we meet, as we can explore the site together to see what other services might be of assistance. We also help those of us whose English is poor to access this important information.
'I am more than happy to recommend Carer Gateway given the wealth of excellent information. It is easy to use, confidential and, most importantly, can direct you to the right services to help support you. It really does make a difference.'