Ouch…the side effects of caring

I scared myself yesterday. It was the first day of school after holidays and I struggled. Well, “struggled”  is an understatement. My back was so painful that I doubted my ability to get Missy dressed and ready for school. I did it…but groaning and teary. Parenthood is a full time job which slowly tapers down as our children grow and become independent. Being a carer-parent though is full time…all the time…with the same level of care as a baby on a much larger person. So there is great fear around not being able to do my job….and I know I’m not on my own there.

According to Carer’s Victoria statistics, carers are 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition. One of the most common of these is back issues. As a carer of a child with severe disabilities my hope, and all that I work for, is for my child to thrive and grow. So it is a cruel irony that being successful makes my job more difficult. For me the physical strain of lifting and changing and bending to tube feed and…well, you know, all of that stuff…exacerbates an existing back condition. For many parents I know caring has created back damage.

So, what is the answer? I don’t have one. Some suggestions from therapy types would be to use a hoist to lift, to be body aware with every movement and use appropriate equipment and to take time out to rest and refresh. All great ideas. But this is my kid. I am supposed to care for her. And all of these have a cost. Equipment and disability support workers aren’t free. Access to fair and equitable funding is imperative for families continuing to care so the full implementation of the NDIS is essential. Apart from that I, and all of you fabulous carers will continue to look after our babies big and small because that’s what we do! It may involve popping a bit of pain relief every now and then and it will mean tears occasionally but I wouldn’t be doing anything else.

 

Information on carer support in Victoria is available here…

http://www.carersvictoria.org.au/facts/impact-of-caring

For more details on the NDIS rollout se…

http://www.ndis.gov.au/

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2 thoughts on “Ouch…the side effects of caring

  1. I know what the task is like. Working as a carer enables one to go home, have a break and return. As a parent that is not an option. Xx

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