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24 February, 2020
Providing care and support to empower people to live in their own homes is a large part of what BaptistCare at home does, but it also provides much-needed support and assistance to carers, which is a lesser-known part of their work.
The BaptistCare at home team in Kellyville, NSW, recently organised an event at Taronga Zoo for 56 young carers and their families. As part of the Zoo’s Roar and Snore program, carers and their families had the opportunity to “glamp” – camping in luxury tents – overnight and awoke to the spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the unmistakable sounds of the Zoo animals.
It was a unique experience for the young carers and their families, many of whom don’t often get the chance to take time out for themselves, due to the immense time and effort that they spend caring for their loved ones who have a disability, said Greg Adams, manager of BaptistCare Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre (CRCC) based out of Kellyville.
“The young carer families who attended the event were caring for people with autism, intellectual disabilities, visual impairment and mental health issues”, continued Greg.
“It really was wonderful to be able to provide this opportunity for young carers and their families. I was fortunate enough to see first-hand many of the smiles, laughter and tears at the event. Many young carers and their families were really touched by the experience,” said Greg.
One family who was invited to experience Roar and Snore was Lindy and her two young sons.
Lindy is a new carer to BaptistCare, having recently left an unhealthy relationship where she was subjected to domestic violence by her husband.
Lindy has two children, Tim and Ben. Tim is on the Autism spectrum and struggles with other complex issues. Ben is a resilient Young Carer, dedicated to helping his Mum care for his younger brother.
Along with doing household chores, Ben helps his Mum with looking after Tim and his physical, social and emotional needs. During the toughest of circumstances, Ben has also been a source of emotional support for his Mum.
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to go to Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo - we had an amazing time. Tim, Ben and myself had an incredible time and had so much fun together. The staff at Roar and Snore were brilliant and looked after us so well - they were so wonderful with both my boys. And answered all of Tim’s questions - all 206 million of them! - and really engaged him in the conversations. They gave us wonderful tours, full of information and showed us some pretty fabulous animals. The hands-on experiences were unforgettable and it was the most wonderful thing to get to be a part of,” Lindy shared.
“Tim told me it was ‘wonderful family bonding’ - I have no idea where he got that from, he has never said anything like it before. But I know that he is very keen to keep the family bonding experiences going.
“And I was so happy to see my boys getting along so well and to be able to have this experience without any fighting. Thank you again for including us in this experience, it has brought us closer, and given the boys an opportunity to bond over something pretty special too. We never usually get to do things like this, so this was a very special get away for us,” said Lindy.
The Young Carer program assists young people who provide care for someone who:
• has a severe mental or physical condition;
• has a disability;
• are frail/aged;
• has drug and alcohol abuse issues; or
• has a chronic illness.
The person they help care for can be a parent, sibling, grandparent, other relative or friend.
Young carers often take on a range of responsibilities including, but not limited to, shopping, cooking, cleaning and household tasks, mobility assistance, toileting, social and emotional support, managing finances, liaising with service and care providers and managing care for other siblings in the family.
“Supporting these younger carers has been such a rewarding activity for our BaptistCare at home team. So often these young people are carrying a load well beyond their years and any opportunity to bring some relief or simple joy can make such a significant difference for them," said Sarah Newman, General Manager of BaptistCare at home.
BaptistCare will be sad to lose the CRCC Program as the funding and services move across to a new Carers Gateway model in May 2020.
Such was the success of the Young Carer event, we are already looking at running another Roar and Snore event for carers of people with mental health issues and disabilities.
Thanks to Eileen Schmidt, Greg Adams and the team at CRCC for their care and expertise in helping to facilitate events and opportunities such as these.
Names have been changed for privacy reasons.