Real Carers Real Stories – Leanne
Leanne is a full-time carer for her parents who require significant and ongoing support. Her mother, aged 92, has significant cognitive decline. Her father, aged 91, is a person who is blind, has mild cognitive loss, and has difficulty walking.
Leanne spends most of her day in a caring role.
‘My parents require around the clock care. I prepare meals, shower and dress them, and ensure they take the correct medication,’ Leanne said.
‘I provide comfort and security, especially for my mother. My mother does not speak English so she wants to stay at home. It is a safe place for her and her fear of being abandoned and helpless makes caring more difficult.’
Leanne felt that her mother’s condition and lack of English would make it difficult for her to live in a residential aged care facility. So, Leanne quit her job and became a full-time carer for her parents.
‘Being blind, my father feels more comfortable staying at home as he feels disoriented when he is outside in unfamiliar territory.’
Leanne is an only child, so there are no other family members to share the caring role.
‘In my culture, there is embarrassment in asking for help as it is expected that I should care for my family, and that asking for help puts the responsibility for care on to someone else,’ Leanne said.
‘But I finally took the advice of my friends and rang Carer Gateway. It was such a revelation.’
Leanne discovered that she could access respite care, and other support and help through Carer Gateway.
'I realised there was no embarrassment in asking for help. Without the respite care Carer Gateway provided, I am not sure who would have cared for my parents.’
Leanne agreed that everyone needs some respite from time-to-time and the support from Carer Gateway meant she had more time to spend with her husband.
‘I didn’t know how good Carer Gateway is. I just wish I knew about it sooner.’
Leanne is now exploring the Carer Gateway online peer support groups as a way to connect with other carers, share stories, and empower each other.
‘I know I am no longer alone or isolated as I am making friends in similar circumstances. I am also looking forward to some online courses about self-care.’
‘Carer Gateway is such an amazing service. I am definitely recommending it to all who will listen so more people can benefit.’