(Pictured: The Veronicas, Lisa & Jess Origliasso, who care for their mum, Colleen.)
Carers make an invaluable contribution to our communities in Australia. This year's National Carers Week, held from 11 to 17 October, will once again provide all Australians with an opportunity to raise awareness of the role and importance of Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers.
It is our chance to thank everyone who cares for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in Australia.
Here at MSA we listen to partners, families, friends and significant others caring for people with MS. The views of carers were sought and reported on in Living with Multiple Sclerosis in 2019: A Report of the key results of a study into the needs of people living with MS, their families and carers. To read the report, please visit our downloadable resources. We have a dedicated web-page to provide specific information for carers, including links to practical support and information and there’s a spot for you to give us feedback on the page, we’d love to hear from you, please visit our Carers page.
We encourage all Australians to visit www.carersweek.com.au and ‘Tell Us Why You Care’ – whether in relation to your own caring role, or why it is you care about carers. You can also help spread the word about Carers Week on social media and get involved in events.
To celebrate Carers Week this year, we will be sharing quotes from people living with MS every day this week about what the support of their unpaid carers mean to them. Tune into our Facebook page to read them.
How to Help Someone who Cares:
There are many practical ways you can help someone you know who may be finding it difficult to cope with their caring responsibilities and may not have thought about ways you could help them.
Perhaps you could offer to help them in the following ways:
- Write a list of things others could do to help. Have your relative or friend keep the list handy for when others offer to help
- Home deliveries: Check with the local pharmacy and supermarket if they can home deliver
- Use the internet to obtain information or do their shopping
- Offer comfort in a way that supports the carer
- Encourage the carer to use an answering machine to return calls at a convenient time. They could re-record their message to provide regular updates when friends or family phone
- Encourage the carer to talk to you or someone else about their day. Reassure the carer that you think their work is important and deserves recognition
- Encourage your friend or relative to regularly give themselves a treat. Reading a magazine, watching a video, taking a bath, reading the paper, or going for a walk are all good ways to relax – suggest ways you could help them to plan those sorts of breaks
(A resource of these points can found here in PDF produced by NSW Health.)
In addition to these suggestions, if the carer you know is stressed or stretched financially by providing daily meals, you may want to help them to start a schedule for friends and family to kick in with food parcels, and even household chores. There are apps available such as “Meal train” (https://www.mealtrain.com/) that aid the process. You might also encourage them to find out if they are eligible for relevant supports such as Meals on Wheels (visit https://mealsonwheels.org.au/find-us/ to find your State and then your local Service and someone can come to meet them and discuss their needs.)
Watch Lisa & Jess Origliasso, AKA The Veronicas,
talk about caring for their mum, Colleen: