‘I have a pool and I have my own medical conditions. I found that I could not [clean] the pool anymore. To me, it was an important thing because… [being in the pool] is really about the only thing I have got. I do not have the time or the money to do other things.’

Amanda feels honoured to be a huge support to someone who is not only her husband but who, as a military policeman and veteran, put his life on the line for 22 years. John’s final deployment was in Cambodia and East Timor for eight months before he returned home for good.

‘It started when he came back from Timor. He just could not cope with anything. He just changed overnight. It has been this way since 2000,’ Amanda explains. Amanda and John live in Townsville, north Queensland, and Amanda has spent the last 23 years supporting her husband.

Not long after John returned from East Timor, Amanda gave birth to identical twin boys, but sadly they died. ‘It was the last straw and it pushed John over the edge,’ Amanda says. John now experiences depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and has physical injuries from his years in the defence force.

John’s physical and mental challenges have taken away a lot of his independence, so Amanda has assumed the role of carer. She also works as a public servant for a federal government department. Before COVID hit, she would go into the office and come home during the day to make John’s lunch and check on his wellbeing.

Reflecting on her journey as a carer, Amanda realises that although it can be hard to find the time, she must take care of herself and do what’s right for her, so that she can do what’s right for John. Through Mates for Mates, the Defence Force Veterans’ Charity, Amanda found Wellways Carer Gateway. She also likes to swim and relax in her pool but because she has her own medical conditions, she is unable to clean it.

Pool cleaning is not a service that Carer Gateway normally provides through its tailored support packages, but Amanda’s coordinator went out of her way to help.

‘To me it was a massive thing because I can do some exercise and I like going in there as I can relax. I do not have the time or the money to do other things. Wellways has been brilliant.’

Amanda also receives assistance from a Queensland organisation to help her with housework and mowing. ‘And unbelievably, that is an incredible help. I know it sounds small but not to me,’ she says.

When Amanda retires, she wants to embark on additional caring roles. ‘I want to do volunteer work with other mums who have lost children - even just being there to help them through some of the dark days. And I also want to go into nursing homes and just read to them or talk to them. I just get enjoyment out of it,’ she explains.

Amanda notes that having support from Wellways Carer Gateway and local organisations, not just for her husband but for her as well, makes such a difference in their lives. She’s passionate about getting the word out to others in the hope that it will be less challenging for them over the long-term.

Carer Gateway is a national support service funded by the Australian Government. It provides free support for carers through a network of regional Carer Gateway service providers. Wellways is the chosen provider of Carer Gateway services throughout Queensland and the New South Wales regions of South-West Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains.

Through Carer Gateway service providers such as Wellways can provide:

  • Carer Support Planning
  • Counselling
  • In-Person Peer Support
  • Facilitated Coaching
  • Emergency Respite Care

How to access Carer Gateway

Our Carer Gateway QLD and NSW teams are available 6am-10pm, 7 days a week.

To register for services, call 1800 422 737 or visit carergateway.gov.au for more information.

Emergency care respite is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1800 422 737.

Carers can also request a call back.