For 10 years Stephanie was primary carer for her father-in-law. She was one of over 2.6 million carers in Australia providing essential care and support for a family member or friend. Stephanie worked full time to ensure Clarry could live comfortably at home with his family and remain as content as possible as he aged through his nineties and the inevitable deterioration in his health.
Looking back now, she is grateful to be able to draw on memories of him in his final years smiling, active and relaxed and knows that she played a major role in ensuring his life was as comfortable as possible.
“It was hard, but for my family it was the only option for us. Caring for Clarry ourselves was something we wanted to do, and it was the best solution for him. Keeping his life and his condition stable was about minimising change and keeping his days as routine as possible, including the people looking after him,” said Stephanie.
Stephanie readily accepted the role, not only because she wanted the best for him, but also because she had always admired Clarry and deeply appreciated the positive impact he’d had on her life and that of her husband and children. Caring for him was Stephanie’s opportunity to give back.
It took some time before Stephanie and the family had a care process in place that worked for Clarry and made things a bit easier for Stephanie. The turning point for her was when she contacted carer support groups consisting of people who were also caring for a loved one.
“Being able to share with people who have been through what you are going through is so incredibly important and helpful. They can relate to the difficulties, share tips and solutions, put you in touch with other vital resources and empathise with your situation.”
“You cannot carry the load alone. I encourage all carers to reach out to all support groups in your community. They are full of amazing people who are truly your lifeline when things get tough.”
Eventually, Stephanie and Clarry found they needed more help and contacted Prestige Inhome Care. “Clarry’s Prestige carers were fantastic. We became a great team all focussed on improving Clarry’s quality of life and giving him purpose every day. The Prestige carers gave me a chance to take some time out for myself and focus on my own wellbeing, so I could be a better carer for Clarry and provide balance for my own family”, said Stephanie.
“I can’t emphasise enough how much the help of others can improve things for you.”
Drawing on her own lived experience, Stephanie is now a valued employee of Prestige Inhome Care, working as a Regional Care Lead. She coordinates and supports carers, helping Prestige provide the best possible care and service for clients.