For a carer, finding time for everyday tasks, spending quality time with family and friends, or prioritising time to enjoy a hobby while managing carer duties may seem unachievable or a challenging juggle.
However, taking respite from a caring role can help not only the carer’s health and wellbeing, it can also bring other opportunities and experiences for the person being cared for.
Both Annette and Jen have engaged with CatholicCare Victoria’s respite services and share their experiences from both the perspective of a carer and a person being cared for.
Jen’s story - Mental Health Planned Respite
After moving to Ballarat, Jen found herself isolated and at risk of homelessness, all while having to navigate and transfer her support services to ensure she could continue to access the help she needed,
“I moved from Melbourne and had to change all of my support to Ballarat services. I was at risk of homelessness, feeling terribly isolated and financially limited after moving. Myself and my carer both have different disabilities, both mental health and physical,” says Jen.
Having been provided with information about CatholicCare Victoria’s carer respite services and reading an article about the program in the local paper, Jen made an enquiry at CatholicCare Victoria in Ballarat.
Jen was then able to access support from two programs - one of which being the Mental Health Planned Respite program.
Planned Respite allowed Jen to meet other participants, make connections and learn more about her new hometown,
“It has helped me to create new friendships through the social group and exposed me to what’s available in Ballarat, both with social outings and other support agencies. Zoom social groups during COVID have assisted in maintaining the new relationships I have formed.”
Making new connections and friendships has helped Jen feel less isolated and having the support of the Planned Respite worker has helped Jen through some difficult times.
“I have improved by feeling less isolated and my mental health has improved because of this. Increasing physical health issues are causing chronic pain and other complications, but I remain connected. Even when hospitalized, I remain connected to my worker via phone and a visit occasionally when restrictions are minimised.”
Participating in Planned Respite has not only helped Jen’s mental health and wellbeing - it has also assisted her carer,
“Planned Respite has been invaluable in taking the pressure off my son,” says Jen.
“He has had time off from being my carer and it’s created a greater relationship between us. And my worker and I have a very positive relationship which assists me.”
Jen continues to participate in the Planned Mental Health Respite program, remaining connected with her newly formed friendships, gaining new experiences around Ballarat and accessing individual support when needed from her support worker.
Photo: Jen, Mental Health Planned Respite client.
Annette’s story - Apple Tree Haven, Respite Accommodation
Struggling to find the time and concentration needed to complete her studies, with carer duties in the home being extensive and exhaustive, Annette reached out to a connection to enquire about Respite Accommodation.
Annette booked Apple Tree Haven for three days accessing time away from her carer duties to work on her Graduate Diploma studies,
“Apple Tree Haven was a quiet place where I could combine study, rest and relaxation,” says Annette.
Suffering her own chronic pain and physical health issues, having a break from her everyday duties and time to work on assignments made a massive difference.
“To have a break from Carer duties and a chance to meet the large study load I was facing, was very valuable in this time. It gave me a break from being the primary go to person for extended family.
“I completed and submitted the required assignments while staying at Apple Tree Haven and have also started on other assignments and have done a body of new work. The capacity to be able to read academic articles and study books in silence has been very valuable,” says Annette.
After staying at Apple Tree Haven and prioritising time for study and looking after her health and wellbeing, Annette was able to reduce stress levels and set boundaries to assist future workload,
“My stress levels are vastly improved and the feeling of being overwhelmed with completing study assignments is reduced. I now have boundaries in place and remind myself to take regular breaks. This in turn allows my family and extended family to share the load.”
For more information or to book planned respite at Apple Tree Have Haven, please phone our Ballarat office on (03) 5337 8999.
Our Mental Health Planned Respite program is offered in Ballarat, Hepburn Shire and Moorabool Shire. For more information about respite please see below:
Mental Health Planned Respite
Jenny Phillips | Marketing & Communications Officer