Peter cares for his wife, Ruby, fulltime while also raising his two young grandsons, Matthew and Michael.
Peter and Ruby have been married for almost thirty years. Ruby has insulin-dependent diabetes and is a breast cancer survivor. She regularly receives blood infusions, is being treated for cataracts in both her eyes, and needs dialysis to help her limited kidney function.
Living in a small town 50km outside of Oberon, NSW, they have to travel 200km three days a week for Ruby’s treatments.
“One of my biggest goals this year is to be able to manage everyone’s different needs.”
“As a parent, I can run the show a bit more, but it’s a different dynamic being a carer and a husband,” said Peter.
“It can be a battle of wills, as I like to call it, having to negotiate with someone you provide care for who is also your partner. But these are just the things you do for your family,” he added.
Matthew, who is now 8 years old, has been with Peter and Ruby since he was six-months old. Michael, who is 7 years old, has learning delays and is also waiting on a diagnosis for autism. Peter regularly drives 50km a day to drop-off and pick-up the boys at the school bus stop.
“It’s a blessing that we all have each other,” shared Peter. “Caring for them helps keep me busy and they bring me so much joy. It helps with the loneliness because they support me even if they don’t realise it.”
“Anything that needs to be done, I’m the one to do it,” said Peter. Peter takes care of day-to-day tasks, from paying bills to cleaning and farm maintenance. Peter does the shopping and all the driving and school runs, and manages appointments for the family.
A caver and a carer
Outside of his role as a carer, Peter is a caver, or a Speleologist.
Around his responsibilities to his family and the farm, Peter leads cave explorations and coordinates the numbering of caves across Australia. Peter is also the President of the Central West Ecological Society and President of the NSW Ecological Council representing NSW cavers.
Both Peter and Ruby also serve on the board of a local First Nations group, Gandugari Murrawarri Aboriginal Corporation. This group is petitioning for the return of Weilmoringle Station rights back to the First Nations community.
How Carer Gateway has helped
Through Carer Gateway, Peter found help with cleaning his house once a fortnight – giving him a much needed break. Carer Gateway has also helped him navigate the aged care system.
Turning 69 in April this year, Peter is now working with Carer Gateway to organise some help on the farm as well – primarily with tree cutting, mowing, and seasonal preparation in winter and summer.
“It’s a long and lonely road being a carer, particularly when you live in a rural area, as we do. Luckily Carer Gateway is here to help.”