Adrian 00:00:03 Hello and welcome to Tune in to care, a podcast that takes us on caring journeys of five different people who care for a loved one, people who didn't know they are an unpaid carer, and who have only found out later that there is support out there for them. Free and easily accessible. Tune in to care is produced on Aboriginal land across Australia. We acknowledge the traditional owners as the custodians of this land. Tune in to care is brought to you by Wellways Carer Gateway. Carer Gateway is an Australian government initiative providing free services and support for carers. And my name is Adrian Plitzco.

Lena 00:00:56 Made my life easier, made me, I think, made me see things more in a positive light. I think.

Mary 00:01:03 I'm gonna tell you like they changed my life, makes me happy. Have a break from, you know, depression.

George 00:01:10 Oh, it was, it was just the advice we were getting and, and I was thinking, oh, you know, we, we are not the only one with the same sort of problem. You know, it's, the others got problems very similar.

Maya 00:01:22 I'm better now. I'm more nicer.

Luna 00:01:27 I have a lot more hope now than what I did before. And that's, that's a really big deal for me 'cause hope is not something that's easy to come by for me. So it's, it's been really fantastic. I don't feel so alone anymore.

Adrian 00:01:46 The caring journey is coming to an end. This does not mean that carers stop caring, but here on Tune in to care, it means that a pivotal moment has been reached.

Georgie 00:01:57 Yay. We finally, we are finally getting the help that, that we needed. We're finally being heard. It's, to me, it's a real shout out. And it's, it's, it's, it's, it's been long, long needed, long awaited.

Adrian 00:02:12 Georgie Sawyer from Wellways Carer Gateway. As always, we will hear from Georgie later on. She will let us know why you, yes, you, the listener might just be that someone who should pick up the phone to learn what support you could have access to.

Adrian 00:02:37 Lena, Mary, Maya, George and Luna's Caring journey has also reached an important moment. They have finally found help and support and it changed their life. Needless to say that they have kept caring for their loved ones throughout this journey, but they are at a point now where they have had time to breathe, time to reflect, and time to, for once think about themselves. Lena has embraced the idea that it's okay to ask for help. And she told us in the previous episode, through counselling, she has learned to stand up to her father and to simply say no sometimes. However, she remains careful of how to address this issue. So what have the supports she has received done for her?

Lena 00:03:23 Made my life easier, made me, I think, made me see things more in a positive light. I think knowing that there's help out there. I'm not alone, and it's okay to ask for help. The counsellor said to me, asked me, how come I haven't told my dad how I felt? And why can't I tell my dad? And I just couldn't. I still, I still haven't, to be honest, I still haven't told him exactly how I feel or how he's making me feel, because I don't wanna hurt his feelings. You know? It's like I don't find that necessary to say exactly how I feel because it's gonna hurt him.

Adrian 00:04:05 The support Mary gets from Wellways Carer Gateway allows her to focus on herself.

Mary 00:04:11 I'm gonna tell you like they changed my life, makes me happy. Have a break from, you know, depression. Because you feel, when you carer you feel very lonely and depressed and you feel like you're in another, I don’t know the word, dimension. Dimension, like another word you live in, in space or somewhere.

Adrian 00:04:35 George no longer feels so alone. And his only regret is that he didn't know sooner that there was help out there for people in his situation.

George 00:04:43 Oh, it was, it was just the advice we were getting. And, and I was thinking, oh, you know, we, we are not the only one with the same sort of problem. You know, it's, the others got problems very similar and, and you know, how, how they get help and how they've been helped and things that, which they've said, oh, that can help us. So it's good getting advice from them and, and learning, you know, the way they go about it. Because the way we were doing it was just what I've been doing. You know, we, if, if we'd had help probably earlier on, it would've probably made it a little bit easier for us as well. I, I wish we'd have, we'd have got very, very early on when Manny was smaller.

Adrian 00:05:28 The support and help Maya gets has a significant impact on her teenage life. It starts with her having developed a, shall we say, more balanced view of the world.

Maya 00:05:39 Yeah, I think so. I'm better now, more nicer than before. I was pretty much really boring. Like, no one liked me, but now, like I have a big friend group, I got some tips from the counsellor, I would say. And then I tried them out and then they kind of worked. Not all of them worked, just a few of them worked. I'm a bit like, I'm a bit like in the middle, like in the middle, if you get what I mean. Happiness matters, but you also need sadness in life. If you do not have sadness, your life isn't complete. You can't be too happy. It changes your life, but in a good and bad way sometimes it can be a good way, sometimes it can be a bad way.

Adrian 00:06:25 And last but not least, Luna, the world makes more sense to Luna. Luna also looks to a future with more confidence than before.

Luna 00:06:35 It's really helped me with learning some new skills and learning about myself as well outside of my caring role. It's given me the opportunity to seek some really meaningful support for myself, which has, it's given me a lot of new tools to use and a lot of new skills. And I'm, I'm still going through the process of the psychology and stuff like that. So I'm sure I'm gonna keep on learning new skills and making more progress. And I have a lot more hope now than what I did before. And that's, that's a really big deal for me 'cause hope is not something that's easy to come by for me. So it's, it's been really fantastic. I don't feel so alone anymore. I know there's people out there who understand what I'm going through and the struggles that I am in, instead of just always making it about, you know, my son, my care recipient. I feel like there's actually some space in the conversation for me and what I'm struggling with and what I'm going through and what I find difficult. And that's been incredibly liberating.

Adrian 00:08:00 Let's be clear again. The help and support Lena, Mary, George, Maya and Luna receive does not take the weight off their shoulders, but it helps to reorganise life around their needs, which eventually makes them happier people and therefore better carers. Both Lena and Mary are experiencing just that.

Lena 00:08:21 I feel a lot better because I'm able to stand up against my dad. And you know, when the one, the hardest thing was to see my dad deteriorate the way he is so quickly. And I, I think I learned from the counselling sessions that how to face that, not try not to avoid my dad. Sometimes I try to avoid because even it's in your face, it just upsets you more. But then it taught me to just accept that that's what's happening in his life. So, and he needs me and just be there for him. Oh, it's way, it's more positive. Our relationship is better. It's a lot better because I'm more patient and understanding to his needs and not get frustrated 'cause sometimes I didn't really understand what's happening with his illness at the same time. Like, I don't know if it's him being stubborn or is it his illness making him that way. Being very demanding. Yeah. So it's kind of half half.

Mary 00:09:24 I can't explain to you. It's a big different, it's when you know someone next to you, like just they look, someone lift the rock from your chest. When I joined with Wellways, I was more comfortable, more relaxed. I'm so happy that Wellways the best they can look after us. They can see what we need. And I need computer, like small one. My daughter, she taught me and I look and relax and learning things about, you know, you can get Google to caring role and you learn more things. You know, with Wellways, you know, I, I get coaching, you talk to them and you tell them what's your problem? You cry a little bit and, but you know, they give you good advice. And the lady, she here, she was my coaching and yeah, just I'm more comfortable than before. Before I used to feel very lonely. Very lonely and depressed and not, not well myself. Then I started worrying about myself because I'm getting nearly 70. I'm not young. Yeah. And I say, who's gonna look after me when I'm older? You know, see, but now with Wellways it just, it's more happier.

Adrian 00:11:00 The support Lena and Mary are receiving has an impact on the everyday life. It makes it somewhat easier and even better. The counselling and coaching both have received, also puts things into perspective. In George's case, he also compares himself to other carers he has met in peer groups.

George 00:11:18 We've got a friend who has got three children with autism. And it's really, really hard. We, compared to what they're going through, to what we've been going through with three children with autism, it's, it's really, really hard. Me personally, I think what we've gone through is, is nothing to what they're actually going through now. You know, it's, and they're young, younger children. We meet up with them every so often. So we can exchange different ways of helping one another. And, and it's good, it's good that, you know, we are learning off them, they're learning off us and that sort of thing. I don't think we'll ever stop learning

Adrian 00:12:05 While George is tempted to do so carers should never compare themselves. Every life, every situation and every caring journey is unique. But he has started to see the meetings with others as a learning journey that benefits everyone. The same goes for Maya and Luna. Maya has learned to arrange her daily life more efficiently so she can take better care of her father. And Luna is also gaining new life skills.

Maya 00:12:32 Being a carer really changed my life 'cause I have to make extra time. But you can still live your life with that extra time. The extra time only takes 20 minutes, maximum one hour. Like, you don't need to be there for like three hours. You can just be there for 20 minutes giving them company, whoever it is, a sister, a brother, a mum or dad. So like, yeah, it doesn't have to be for longer than honestly 40 minutes. You just need to be there for 10 minutes to comfort them. Then you have to help them clean for 10 minutes. You can also comfort them again and then go home. It's, that's all that matters to them as long as you go there to really comfort them and help them out. I felt happy because my dad's nice to me. He's not like, like he's not rude to you. If you really like spend time with him and care about him, he'll be kind.

Luna 00:13:32 I have a tendency to like overthink things and I struggle with low self-esteem at the best of times. But it, it definitely has given me some more skills where I look at situations now and I'm like, hey, maybe I can do this. It's given me that, that sense of, yeah, I guess confidence in my abilities because I, I know that the skills I'm putting in place are gonna work for me. Like they, they found people who had the skills to teach me that were gonna work for me. And that, that's invaluable. Absolutely invaluable. There's always that old saying that it takes, takes a village to raise a child. And I think with the way the modern life works, a lot of people lose that sense of community that makes them feel less alone and makes them feel like they, you know, have the skills that they need to do what they need to do. And so with this process of seeking all of this support for myself through Carer Gateway, it's, it's definitely given me, yeah, that it's just, it's just reduced that sense of isolation.

Adrian 00:14:51 How to deal with situations that would have previously caused stress and anxiety. Luna has learned about that. Life feels less isolated, yet there is still some work to do.

Luna 00:15:02 So like, I'm still working on building relationships with the other carers in my in-person support group. And the hope is, is that after our facilitator finishes their role in supporting us, the hope is, is that we can put a plan in place to continue meeting even without her and to continue building on those relationships. And that's something that I really look forward to. It's something that I feel excited about, which is, it's very meaningful for me to be able to know that there are people that I can, you know, try to keep building relationships with, people that really understand what I'm going through and aren't gonna just kind of turn around and leave as soon as things get a bit difficult.

Adrian 00:15:59 You are listening to Tune in to Care, a podcast about the caring journey of five different people. Lena, Mary, George, Maya, and Luna. Not long ago, they did not know they are an unpaid carer. Life was challenging and they were mostly on their own. It was only once they found out that there is help out there and they started reaching out, their life improved. So, what advice would they give to someone who is in the situation they were in not too long ago?

Lena 00:16:30 I would say definitely give you guys a call because there's help out there and you don't need to suffer and take it all onboard yourself. It's okay to get help.

Mary 00:16:43 You shouldn't be embarrassed, you know, you should be, just say you are a carer and you might get some help from somewhere. Someone give you advice and you, you'll be more comfortable, not shy like before. You'll change slowly, slowly.

George 00:17:02 People. My advice would be to, to most wholeheartedly is to try and, and, and find a place like Carer Gateway and, and ask for the help. And to understand that there are people there that can help you, that they can help you solve some problems. That, that will make life a lot easier at home and a lot easier out in the public. I wish that we had asked for help a many, many years ago. It would've saved us a lot of heartache. It would've saved us a lot of problems. I wish we'd done it earlier.

Luna 00:17:41 Just reach out, reach out. You are like, you're not alone and you don't have to go through all of this confusion and whatever feelings that you're feeling in your caring role. Like you don't have to go through it alone. There are, there are people out there who care. There's people out there who understand and there's people out there who wanna help and Carer Gateway is absolutely phenomenal. Like they, they made me feel comfortable from day one.

Maya 00:18:12 Like, go out there and be proud that you're a carer and don't be like, if your friends don't support you as a carer, you shouldn't listen to them. And even if they don't and you think you're not a carer, you'll always be a carer because that's what you are.

Adrian 00:18:31 You'll always be a carer because that's what you are. A clear and loud message from our carers Lena, Mary, George, Maya, and Luna. Each one of their caring journeys is unique and yet they have one thing in common, since receiving support, they feel more comfortable and confident in their role as a carer. Does that apply to all the carers out there? That's what I would like to know, and I'm going to ask that question. Georgie Sawyer, our regular podcast guest, Georgie is an in-person, peer support facilitator at Wellways Carer Gateway. She has been on a caring journey herself and knows the ins and outs and ups and downs of being a carer. Hello Georgie, welcome back.

Georgie 00:19:16 Hi, Adrian. Hi caring community.

Adrian 00:19:18 It made my life easier. I'm more confident. It gives me peace of mind. I'm more comfortable, I'm more relaxed. These are statements of our carers. We have heard once they received support. Do you hear that too at your work when you bring groups of carers together?

Georgie 00:19:34 I certainly do and so does my team. We, it's a constant, it's a constant shout out of acknowledgement and yay. It's sort of like, yay, we finally, we are finally getting the help that, that we needed we're finally being heard. It's, to me, it's a real shout out and it's been long, long needed, long awaited.

Adrian 00:20:00 The support and help Wellways Carer Gateway provides is what I understand, not so much taking the burden completely off your shoulders. I know this is simply not possible. It's more like it gives you the carer, the certainty that you're not alone. And that seems like a great big thing. I would even go that far to say it's like a salvation.

Georgie 00:20:22 Yeah, it's, it's, I like to think of it as when I'm, when, when we're talking in our IPPS groups, we talk about that window of tolerance or that window of peace, being able to get that little bit of empowerment, that, that space, that to come up and exhale in order to keep going in our everyday caring role, and this is a common theme that we're hearing every day.

Adrian 00:20:50 We heard from Lena, Mary, George, Maya, and Luna, the advice they gave to everybody who thinks or doesn't quite know whether they are a carer. Georgie, what is your advice?

Georgie 00:21:03 If you think you are a carer, then give us a call, even if you're questioning it and you're curious. What's interesting is that a lot of our carers that have been interviewed in this podcast have outlined and highlighted how it was someone else in the community who noticed them, who noticed their everyday rituals, their everyday responsibilities. Be curious, hold yourself high and make that call to 1800 422 737 because who you're gonna get on the other end is someone to share your story with and work that out. Work out what empowering tools of support are out there waiting for you.

Adrian 00:21:47 It's not only that you think you might be a carer, it's more the fact that as soon as you look after a loved one care for them, you are a carer. It's as simple as that, isn't it?

Georgie 00:21:57 Yes. I heard one of my beautiful carers, she said it really, it, it really moved me, Adrian. She said, if you are thinking about a loved one most of the day where you are wondering what they're doing, how are they eating something? What do I need to do? Do I have to go? If you are constantly thinking about, that was really interesting. I found this concept amazing because I never considered myself to be a carer. And when I look back from my younger self, from that younger lens, yes, I was thinking about my parents all the time. And that may be another way of, of being able to, you know, identify what your journey has been so far.

Adrian 00:22:43 Georgie Sawyer from Wellways Carer Gateway, a big thank you Georgie for your insights and for sharing parts of your personal story and experiences.

Georgie 00:22:53 Thank you so much, Adrian, for your time. And thank you so much to Carer Gateway for giving our caring community a voice and for being able to raise awareness and reach the people in our community that may not have yet reached that that space of awareness or support that they are so open to and so deserving of. Thank you.

Adrian 00:23:19 A very big thank you also goes to Lena, Mary, George, Maya and Luna, who invited us into their life and had the courage to share their caring journey with us. I invite you to find out more about receiving free support as a carer, either for yourself or a friend. It's only a phone call away. Simply dial 1800 422 737. Again, 1800 422 737 Australia wide. The friendly people at Carer Gateway will be listening to you. And this was season one of Tune in to care. Please leave us a review and tell your family, friends, and caring community about it. And hang on. There is actually one more episode coming up, a special episode where we catch up with the carers of this podcast once more to ask where are they now? So do you not miss out, make sure you are part of it and keep checking your preferred podcast platform for this audio highlight. Until then, I say goodbye. I am Adrian Plitzco. Thank you for listening. Go well.

Note: Transcripts are generated automatically by AI and corrected manually.