|Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers|
|Tuesday, 06 July 2010 00:00|
If you are an Indigenous carer, you will find some great resources at the Carers NSW website.
Visit their website at http://www.carersnsw.asn.au/ and follow the links from the home page to ‘carer support programs’ and then to ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers’.
There you will find all sorts of useful information such as their Aboriginal Carers Support Guide; Aboriginal carer relaxation CD order form; carer information and statistics; and lots of useful fact sheets, booklets and resources.
One great program you can participate in is the Koori Yarning Project, a support program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers and awareness program for service providers.
You can link up with carer support groups like the Penrith Aboriginal Carers Group – a unique carer group which also undertakes the development of innovative carer projects. There are support groups just for women and you can yarn about women's business. There are also some groups just for men.
Then there is the ‘Shoulder-to-Shoulder’ information booklet, which is a great resource for families caring for a child or young person with a disability. This booklet contains information about disability services, respite services and Aboriginal organisations that can support you. It also includes stories on how Aboriginal families have been able to cope with caring for a child with a disability.
And don’t forget to look at the ‘Feeling Good Tips for Aboriginal Carers’ fact sheet.
It is full of great advice about how to take time out for yourself and to nurture yourself so that you are a better carer because you are healthier and stronger within yourself.
As an Aboriginal carer, you are likely to be looking after more than one person. It's important that you take care of yourself as well, because you can easily become run down or sick if you forget your own health needs.
Have a yarn with your local Aboriginal health worker about getting a break. You can also get help to plan a break by contacting the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre by phoning 1800 052 222. The call is free and you can ring from anywhere in Australia.
One important thing to remember if you are a carer is that you can’t neglect eating properly.
You need to carefully watch what you eat. It's easy to eat food that's not good for you when you are doing a lot. Some carers have diabetes and other health problems so it is important to eat the right food so you don't become unwell. Stay away from packaged and processed food as much as possible. Fresh is best, especially traditional bush tucker. Eat fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and fresh meat. Drink water, not soft drinks or alcohol. Choose wholegrain bread instead of white and avoid sugar. You will be much healthier if you make these changes to your diet.
Daily exercise is also very important. Each day do some exercise you enjoy. It's important for your overall health and exercise helps you to feel less stressed. You need fresh air and a bit of sunshine every day.
Trying not to feel guilty is hard for all carers and all carers say that they feel guilty at times.
But remember, when you have some time out, the idea is to enjoy yourself and unwind. It doesn't help anyone if you are feeling guilty about taking time out. It is good for both you and the person you look after to have some time out from each other and spend some time with other people.
Learning how to meditate can be a very calming and relaxing thing to do, too. Some carers find that they feel a lot less stressed once they learn how to meditate. Some Health Centres run meditation groups. Ask your local Aboriginal worker to help you find the closest group or you could listen to a meditation or relaxation tape that you can order on the Carers NSW website.
Also it is important that you do not feel shame about asking for help. It doesn't mean you're weak. Sometimes carers feel shy about asking for help but feel a lot better when they do. Let family know if you need help and work out jobs they can do. They often feel good knowing they are helping.
Lastly, you need to get information about the services that can help you and there is a list of handy numbers to ring at the end of this story so that you can find out about the local services in your area. Some services help with transport to and from hospitals and shopping. Some help with disabilities, counselling and other carer needs.
Don't wait until you feel really stressed out before you ask for some help.
Who to contact for help
Information on Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres and the support they provide can be found at http://www9.health.gov.au/ccsd/.
You can also contact your nearest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre by phoning a free national telephone number 1800 052 222.
Anyone can contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre and the service is free.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are information centres that can help you find support. They provide free and confidential information on community aged care, disability and other support services available locally, interstate or anywhere within Australia.
The network of 54 Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres has around 65 'walk-in' shopfronts throughout Australia. Many shopfronts are conveniently located near, or within, shopping centres.
When you contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre the staff at the Centre will discuss your situation with you, and give you information about the local services available or those you may benefit from.
Deaf, hearing impaired or speech impaired callers may call through the National Relay Service using their modem or TTY by dialling 1800 555 677 then asking for Freecall™ 1800 052 222. Speech impaired callers may also call through Speech-to-Speech Relay by dialling 1800 555 727 then asking for Freecall™ 1800 052 222.
The National Carers Counselling Program
Carers have access to short-term professional counselling and assistance to manage issues such as stress, loss and grief through the National Carers Counselling Program, delivered by Carers Australia. Contact Carers Australia on the national Freecall™ number 1800 242 636.
There are also audio files available for people who are vision impaired that explain the services available if you follow this link http://www9.health.gov.au/ccsd/resources.cfm
To find out where your nearest carer support group is ring the Carer Line on 1800 242 636. The Carer Line is available from 9am – 5pm on Mondays and Fridays and from 9am – 8pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The emergency and after hours number for home nursing and respite care is 1800 059 059.
If you need to talk to someone call Lifeline crisis support service on 13 11 14. There are counsellors available 24 hours a day.