8 Nov 2023 | Blog

The Emotional and Financial Toll of Caregiving

elderly woman

Looking after someone you care about can be rewarding, yet fraught with obstacles, as was the case for Laura. When her mum, Shelly, experienced a stroke, she didn’t need full-time nursing care but couldn’t manage living on her own either.

At the time, Laura had a part-time job and was in the middle of her Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery, with visions of eventually running her own specialised dental clinic. She thought that relocating to help her mother wouldn’t have a substantial impact on her professional aspirations.

Moreover, moving back home would also allow her to cut back on rent. However, things didn’t pan out as expected. Shelly had to leave her job, making Laura the sole earner. On top of the regular bills, costs like medications, transport, and home adjustments began piling up.

Juggling Studies, Work, and Care Responsibilities

Juggling her mum’s medical schedules and running errands affected Laura’s study routine. With no improvement in Shelly’s health on the horizon, Laura decided to put her education on hold. The emotional toll began to weigh on her as her mother’s daily needs took precedence over her own. As Shelly’s health declined, it led to a further strain on Laura’s work schedule, forcing her to quit her job as well.

Financial Assistance Packages for Carers

Thankfully, Australia offers various financial support schemes for carers:

  • Carer payments: Designed for those providing ongoing care to someone with an illness, disability or in old age.
  • Carer allowances: Monetary support specifically for those who offer daily care to someone with a medical condition or disability.
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): This caters to the disabled and their carers through various services and programs. For eligibility and application procedures, the government website gov.au is a comprehensive resource. Shelly’s GP also helped Laura gather essential medical documents and supplied additional program information.

Rediscovering Personal Ambitions Amidst Caregiving

Giving up her job didn’t just affect Laura financially; it also took a toll on her social life. Friends drifted away as she continued to decline invitations and her job, her last social outlet, was now gone. Laura had resigned herself to a life dedicated to caregiving, forgoing any personal ambitions for the future. However, that changed when she stumbled upon Carer Gateway carergateway.gov.au and Carers Australia carersaustralia.com.au. These websites not only offered financial advice but also stressed the importance of carers taking care of themselves, both mentally and physically. Laura started building a new community and availing herself of the various support and counselling services, along with respite programs. A friend also suggested she consult a legal advisor regarding Powers of Attorney and a financial consultant specialised in legacy planning, for both her and her mother’s peace of mind.

Now, Laura feels her life is regaining momentum. Though her mother’s illness rerouted her life’s trajectory, new avenues are appearing. She has even signed up for an online dental assistant course. It may not align perfectly with her initial career goals, but it has rekindled her ability to dream and plan for the future.

The information contained on this website has been provided as general advice only. The contents have been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before you make any decision regarding any information, strategies or products mentioned on this website, consult your own financial adviser to consider whether that is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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