Volunteers’ Christmas Celebration 2017

The annual volunteers’ Christmas outing is the ideal opportunity to recognise and reward the ongoing efforts and contributions of Carer Support’s wonderful volunteers. This year, our volunteers decided to celebrate by going on a tour of the Adelaide Desalination plant in Lonsdale and enjoying a delicious lunch at the Cove Tavern in Hallet Cove on December 4.

The day of the outing dawned sunny and clear – the perfect way for any celebration to begin! A bus was arranged to collect the volunteers and staff from each of our carer centres at Campbelltown, Glandore and Morphett Vale and take everyone to the desalination plant.

One of the most valuable things about the volunteer outings is that they provide an opportunity to not only have fun, but to learn some interesting things about our city. This tour was no exception! The tour of the Adelaide Desalination plant kicked off with a welcome cuppa and a multimedia presentation before progressing to a bus tour of the plant and facilities. The group was informed that the Adelaide Desalination plant (formerly known as the Port Stanvac Desalination plant), which is a sea water reverse osmosis desalination plant, has the capacity to provide the city of Adelaide with up to 50% of its drinking water needs and directs its water to the Happy Valley Reservoir.

After the tour some volunteers chose to explore the walking trail at the desalination plant and at 12:30pm everyone boarded the bus again to head to the Cove Tavern at Hallett Cove for a tasty and enjoyable lunch. After lunch, Margaret and Walter each made speeches to express just how much we appreciate and value the work of our volunteers, after which each volunteer was presented with a “thank you” gift.

Again, thank you to all our volunteers – you make a BIG difference at Carer Support!

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The impact of caring – social isolation

Peter Sparrow CEOI recently spoke at an SA service provider forum, the theme of which was “No-one should have no-one.” In response to the theme of the forum, I spoke about ‘The impact of caring – social isolation’. The following is a brief outline of my talk, which I hope will give individuals, families and providers some insights about carers and the impact caring has on them.

Carers are individuals. Every carer undertakes their caring role in circumstances unique to them. The way they manage will depend on their life experience, skills, knowledge, age, gender, relationship with the person they care for and the level of support available to them. There is an enormous range of opinions held by carers about the role. Carers have said to us that they often gain a lot from the caring experience. They learn about the person they are caring for, the medical or physical condition, and the treatment options available. In short, they often become experts themselves on the condition or disability of the person they care for. This can help them be powerful advocates.

Some carers say they feel privileged to support a person who may have given them a lot of support before their roles were reversed, for example, a son or daughter caring for a parent or a husband caring for his wife. But there are also a lot of challenges that carers can face. One of these is isolation. The demands of the caring role can prevent normal participation in family and community activities and employment.

Another challenge is invisibility. The focus of attention on the person with the illness or disability can lead to the carer feeling invisible, with their own needs secondary to those of the person they care for. There can also be loss of confidence and self esteem. Many carers become increasingly isolated from community, family and friends.

Low levels of health and wellbeing are also common among carers. Studies show that carers have lower levels of health and wellbeing than their counterparts who are not carers. The ever present struggle to secure adequate, reliable and ongoing support for their loved one is a burden and a significant cause of fatigue and burn out.

Most carers did not freely choose to become a carer and the role is frequently accompanied by a strong sense of grief and loss. They had plans for their life or for the life of the person they are now caring for. How can they avoid the grief they feel due to the loss of their husband or wife to dementia and the retirement they had planned, or the impact the disability has had on their child and the family? They may be grieving the loss of their career, or of friends and family, or of their financial security.

Recognising the carer as an individual outside of their caring role is critical. They are not just an extra ‘in-home support’ to the person receiving care. They are not invisible. They have a right to a life outside of their caring role. Not all carers want this or will accept that they need this. However, we all have choice even if we take it for granted. Carers should have the same opportunities for choice as all of us. Carers are people with hopes, dreams and goals. Isolation is a reality for many carers but there are things we can do to walk alongside them and make their caring journey more inclusive, less stressful and, most certainly, less isolated. We can link carers with dedicated carer services who are best placed to offer a full suite of dedicated carer support options and the flexibility to deliver them. We can work with them to ensure the resources and  support for the person they care for are available today and tomorrow, and that carers can plan for the future with some degree of certainty.

I hope this overview gives everyone a little food for thought. This is not to say that all carers feel the same or want or need the same level of support. It is simply highlighting that there is an impact on carers that must be recognised.

Peter Sparrow
Chief Executive Officer

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“Caring in the Aboriginal Community” Awareness Training Package

We are excited to share the details of the “Caring in the Aboriginal Community” learning package which was developed by the Aboriginal Support team (Daphne Rickett, Wendy Casey and Claudine Buckskin (past employee)) under the guidance of Regional Manager Margaret Potts and Executive Manager Mandy Toczek McPeake with the expert help of Colourblind Films.

This project was funded by a Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (SA) grant. The aim of the project was to develop a training package for use by urban and rural community agencies in training their staff to understand the role of the Aboriginal family member who is an unpaid carer for relatives or friends.

Carers and other members of the Aboriginal community kindly agreed to participate in the filming and development of the package. We are sincerely grateful in particular to the carers who were filmed and for their openness and willingness to share their experiences, thoughts and ideas, which can be difficult to express, and at times a challenge to accept for those without Aboriginal heritage.

The project has provided the Carer Support Aboriginal Support team an opportunity to develop something which fills a gap in people’s knowledge and understanding. During the development of the package we (Carer Support staff) learned so much about the Aboriginal experience, as well as their needs and expectations.

The team was thrilled to present the package at the 7th International Carers Conference which was held in Adelaide in October.

You can view the package on our website and on the website.

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NEWS RELEASE: State Government extends vital funding for carers

Just recently, the State Government announced that vital funding has been extended until June 2020 to ensure that services which support carers continue as the roll outs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Commonwealth aged care reforms take place.

“Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettison says South Australian carers will not be left behind as the Commonwealth moves disability and aged care funding to individualised care packages.”

The continued funding will provide $6.2 million to the Carer Support Network SA over a period of two years so that respite care, support and advocacy can be delivered to South Australia’s ~245,000 unpaid carers. It’s estimated that these carers provide support which is worth more than $5 billion.

“Carer Support is delighted with and applauds the State Government’s decision to extend this crucial funding. This is an important decision to be made at a time when recognition of and support for carers is being challenged nationally. It will provide stability to the many thousands of carers currently being supported across the state and also to those members of the Carer Support Network who are funded to provide dedicated specialist carer services. Additionally, it comes at a time when there is a level of uncertainty about the future directions in how carers are supported into the future, from the Federal Government,” says Peter Sparrow, Carer Support CEO.

Read full news release.

Photo caption: Meeting of the members of the Carer Support Network SA and Minister Bettison following the recent announcement by the Minister of the extension to current funding for carer services (in SA) to June 2020.

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Carer Support at the 7th International Carers Conference

There’s been an air of excitement and anticipation around Carer Support as staff prepare to attend and present at the 7th International Carers Conference. It’s a wonderful thing for Adelaide to be hosting this high profile international event, not only because Adelaide is a great city to live in and visit, but also because it presents an excellent opportunity for us to share some of Carer Support’s most recent key initiatives. There are plenty of other enlightening sessions from which to choose throughout the duration of the Conference.

On Wednesday at 2:00pm, Carer Support will be running its newly released, stand-alone “Caring in the Aboriginal Community” training session to a limited group of 40 conference attendees. This learning package is now available to community agencies in South Australia who work with Aboriginal carers. It has been developed by Carer Support and the State Government of South Australia with the aim of educating community agencies and support workers about the various roles of, and issues faced by, Aboriginal family members who are unpaid carers for relatives or friends with mental illness, disability, complex health issues or issues related to ageing.

Carer Support will also be doing a poster presentation on Wednesday at 1:15pm to share the successful outcomes of our Glandore Carer Garden project. Carer Support’s Carer Garden was launched in November 2015 as a project to make use of an otherwise bare space at the rear of the centre. We now have a thriving garden managed by volunteer carers with the enthusiastic support of a carer garden group and staff of the centre. The poster, which will be on display, demonstrates the dynamic and collaborative partnerships between Carer Support, local business, community agencies, and carers, who have all contributed to this wonderful initiative.

And last, but certainly not least, two young carers from our Raw Energy program will be speaking at 11:30am on Thursday morning about their experiences with Raw Energy and the Inside Out retreat. These young carers have attended every Inside Out retreat, from its inauguration in 2013 to the most recent of the retreats, and they will tell the audience about their caring roles, about their involvement with Raw Energy and about their “Inside” and “Outside” retreat experiences and how these experiences have made a difference to their lives.

It’s not too late to register and get along to the conference to benefit from all the great content on offer. Visit the website for more conference details.

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Medical alarms and the NBN

The nbn™ network is Australia’s new landline phone and internet network. It is currently being rolled out across the country and is designed to give Australians access to fast and reliable phone and internet services.

The nbn™ network involves new technologies, which means it will replace most of the existing landline phone and internet networks.

This means that some existing devices may not be compatible with the new network, for example, medical alarms. If you have a medical alarm, it’s important that you register it with nbn and call your medical alarm provider for advice and to find out if your service will work on the nbn™ network. Make sure you do this well before your existing landline phone network is disconnected.*

Important steps to take with regards to Medical Alarms and the nbn™:

  1. Register with your Alarm Call Provider to check if they are ready to convert.
  2. Test your Medical Alert alarm to ensure that it is working once the change has happened.
  3. Speak with your Service Provider for alternative solutions such as a battery back-up device**.

*Please refer to this brochure for more information.
**Devices connected to the NBN will not work during an outage and therefore people are encouraged to have an alternative means of contacting (i.e. mobile phone).

You can also refer to the COTA SA website for more information about the nbn.

More information about the NBN can be accessed here.


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Launch of Carer Gateway Facebook page

The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, recently released a media statement encouraging carers to connect to services through Carer Gateway.

As part of this announcement, Mrs Prentice also noted the recently launched Carer Gateway Facebook page.

The Carer Gateway Facebook page is designed to provide information that is useful to carers, including the supports and services available to assist them in their caring role.

Please share this page with family and friends and help to raise awareness of this useful resource by:

  • Liking the page; and
  • Sharing posts that may be relevant or of interest to you and your family and friends.

Join the Carer Gateway community today!

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