Puspa's story

3 minute read

Meet Puspa

Puspa, 51, is a single mum to five children including 11-year-old Samuel who has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Samuel’s condition requires extra care and attention from Puspa and the family.

With children ranging in age from 11 to 30, Puspa leads a busy life and also finds time to support members of her community in Burnie, Tasmania, where her volunteer work includes helping people with mental health challenges.

A lifetime of caregiving

Puspa has been a carer most of her life. From a very young age, she helped care for her mother, who has a mental health condition.

As an adult, after losing a loved one, Puspa decided she needed to spend more time helping others. She now balances being a mum, caring for Samuel as well as volunteering as a support worker for people with mental health challenges. She helps community members who need assistance with activities such as grocery shopping, preparing meals, taking medication, and bathing.

Puspa lives with multiple sclerosis, which she says is currently under control but at one stage significantly limited her mobility. At that time, Puspa’s children helped to care for her.

Puspa says being a carer can be demanding but is also very rewarding. ‘Look around: people are alone and isolated and if we can do our bit to help them, whether it's paid or unpaid caring, there is nothing as rewarding.’


Puspa knows that with a hectic daily schedule, she needs to take time for herself

Once a week she volunteers as a karate instructor for disadvantaged children: ‘This is one of my self-care routines to keep myself fit while I pay back to the community.’

She also likes to walk the family’s 11-year-old dog, which is blind and deaf, and jokes that she combats stress by venting to her dog about her problems.

‘It’s important we take time out for ourselves,’ says Puspa. ‘I drive to my kids' school ahead of time every day and wait in the car with a pack of juice for them and for myself while I read my favourite magazine.’

Support from Carer Gateway

Puspa relies on a range of services and supports offered by Carer Gateway, from free counselling and skills courses, to respite care.

She regularly uses the counselling service, saying: ‘Sometimes when I’m having a bad time, I give them a call and ask if I can talk to someone to help me get through my day.’

‘As carers, it’s hard to find time for ourselves,’ she adds, ‘but Carer Gateway has helped me be kind to myself. I have had the opportunity to get some time off with planned respite services, have a peaceful meal or go to a movie - something I could never have thought of until I was introduced to Carer Gateway.’

‘If it wasn’t for Carer Gateway I wouldn’t be where I am today,’ she says. ‘I'm so grateful that I've got an opportunity to contribute as a human being to care for others, because I'm being cared for by myself.’