Thursday, October 05, 2006
Carers Week - Oct 15 - 21
I don't consider myself a 'carer' and to be honest I feel uncomfortable calling myself one. I am Hannah's MOTHER - so why do I feel this way? I don't know. I know that 'carers' do amazing and important work but for me - at the risk of playing semantics - Hannah is first and foremost my most gorgeous daughter.
There are currently more than 2.5 million carers in Australia. According to Carers Australia they provide a service that is worth about $30 billion a year in wages and operating costs. We have two gov't payments available - one is means tested and the carers allowance is not. In an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey in 2003 - 19% of carers received the full carer payment. 20% had not even investigated the possibility of receiving support as they did not consider themselves 'carers'. 13% had never heard of the payment.
So I am one of the lucky ones - the doctors I saw when Hannah was born were diligent in making sure that I knew about the payment and they were happy to complete the form regarding the nature of her disability. This allowance that I get covers Hannah's EI cost and a bit more. Perhaps when she is older and her developmental delays become more obvious and affect her life choices more then I will start thinking of myself as a 'carer' too but I hope that I never feel more like a 'carer' than a 'mother'.
The survey showed that few carers actually took advantage of the respite available - I hope that Carers Week raises awareness of the service provided by carers and also an awareness of life in all its fullness - life when someone you love has a debilitating illness or a disability. Yes it could easily be you. Yet in a caring and civilised society it should not be cruelly burdensome or isolating but embraced as part of life. An important and valuable part of life. Where the person in need of care is recognised as an asset to the society. A person who gives as well as receives because after all isn't that what life is?
Lunching with Work Friends
The twins and I had lunch with some friends from work yesterday. The kids had a ball playing with our host's little girl who is about four months older than they are. Hannah played happily in the sandpit with Kit and Eliza. Then Kit and Eliza went over to another piece of play equipment. Hannah stayed happily playing in the sandpit. After a few minutes I got up and took Hannah over to where the other two were playing. I showed her where she could climb up and join in if she wanted to. One of the other Mums said to me as I went over to Hannah - "Oh she is having fun in the sandpit. Leave her there". And so she was but she had fun on the climbing equipment too.
Later the kids were back in the sandpit for a while and this time when the 2 'bigger' ones left and went back to the climbing equipment/playhouse - guess who was right on their tail? It highlighted for me in a small way how important it is for Hannah's childcare to do the same. Once she had an intro to that equipment she didn't need any coaxing to keep up with her peers - even though she is not walking and her speech is way behind them she played happily and enthusiastically with them. Needless to say both twins were very tired by the time we left that house!
The climbing equipment