This week is National Carers Week, a time to recognise and celebrate the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
VMCH is a Catholic not-for-profit organisation that provides disability, specialist education, aged care and retirement living services for up to 9000 people in Victoria. It has a carer support program to enable carers to take a break from their daily duties and enjoy some time for themselves.
VMCH chief Sonya Smart CEO said while normally this happens through face-to-face events and activities, the last two years have meant pivoting to an online format.
“We have been hosting watercolour art classes, wardrobe organisation tips and tricks, along with educational resources such as NDIS Q&A sessions – all online,” Ms Smart said.
“This has been a huge challenge, but still a very successful way of keeping our carers connected. “Our carer support team does an exceptional job, especially in such difficult times, when face-to-face contact is so important for those who need a break from their incredibly busy lives.”
Christina Johns, who has been a carer for over 30 years, is supported by the carer support program. As a mum and carer to her son Ashley, 42, Ms Johns said that the program has been a great support to her over the years and she has made lifelong friends.
“‘We all have different sorts of challenges, but what unites us is that we care for someone and we know how taxing it is on our lives,” Ms Johns said.
“We can just be who we are, there’s no pretence, and pretending that everything is fine, when everything is actually falling apart. Sometimes we just cry with each other because it’s hard. It is that camaraderie outside of that organised setting, where like-minded people can get together and have fun, it is just precious.”
VMCH: Celebrating our dedicated carers (Melbourne Catholic)