Chris cares for his wife Victoria who has hereditary spastic paraparesis, which causes weakness and stiffness in her lower limbs.
Identifying as a carer is not something that came naturally to Chris. 'I don’t see myself as a carer, I’m just her partner. It comes with being married to Victoria and I just instinctively care for the person I love,' says Chris.
When Chris is not caring for Victoria or playing with his two young boys, he can be found working on the docks as a stevedore or hanging out at the beach, surfing and body boarding. If there’s one thing Chris loves, it’s the water!
Chris knows it’s important to take time for himself.
He always makes sure that he can prioritise his wellbeing and fit in a surf session, while working around Victoria’s schedule. Getting a break and the support he needs helps him stay motivated and to better care for Victoria.
A typical day for Chris involves getting his son up and ready for school in the morning, making the beds, doing the dishes and other day-to-day tasks. On weekends he loves taking the kids out to the park and packing up the car for a family trip to the beach.
It’s never too early or too late to get support
'Victoria and I have a strong support network from family who live just down the road,' said Chris. They see their family a few times a week and this helps take some of the pressure off Chris. 'It can get tough at times but I try to think positively, be patient and not overthink the negatives,' he explains.
Through Carer Gateway, Chris has accessed different resources and services available to support him, these include counselling to help manage stress and anxiety that can occur, coaching to reach his personal goals and the community groups and forums available. Chris is looking forward to learning more about respite care and how to make an emergency care plan, to support his family in planning ahead.
His two main goals for the future are to spend more time with his family and go travelling with Victoria and their sons. Chris especially wants to show his boys more of the world and dreams of retiring on the Gold Coast.