carers

On 7th February, Vin’s Buses and Coaches were requested by Uniting Care Wesley Bowden to take a group of carers on a day trip to Victor Harbor. They all care for family members with mental health challenges which are often very exhausting and time consuming for a carer to manage.

Michelle, who has two young children with Aspergers Syndrome, said “Today has been great for me. I have been able to relax and mix with the others. It’s great to sit back and enjoy the scenery, in a quiet and calm bus ride, and not have to run off after my young ones is wonderful. The morning tea (an unexpected surprise at Mclaren Vale on route to Victor) lunch and the bus ride has been fantastic. Being on a carer’s pension and having a mortgage, leaves no money for entertainment.  I feel very refreshed, happy and revived… a really great day.”

A tasty lunch was enjoyed at the Middleton Tavern, and after, most were happy to look around the surprisingly diverse Victor Harbor shopping precinct. Others took a walk over the causeway to Granite Island.

Many of the 35 participants talked of their ordeals and experiences of being carers. Some had given up careers in business and professions to be able to care for their loved ones, at great cost to themselves, particularly in lifestyle. One man in his thirties was caring for his wife with a physical disability, requiring her to be in a wheelchair much of the time. Both of their children have disabilities as well, one born with Down’s Syndrome and the other had developed severe autism. He said it is a 6am to 10pm job, every day of the year. Then there was Elizabeth, a grandmother who’s daughter had not recovered from post natal depression after childbirth, made worse by her and her husband’s divorce and resulting in long term mental health problems. Elizabeth now has her daughter and  child living with her.  Then her premature born grandson was diagnosed with autism. She spoke of the workload she had taken on and how tiring it can be.  “Life can change in an instant, just when everything appears to be going smoothly” she said, adding that the aging process and lesser energy means she sometimes gets overwhelmed and isolated by the demands of caring. Respite, provided by Uniting Care Wesley Bowden, along with support from carers groups…. and short breaks-such as the day out in and around Victor, are all vital to assist carers in their roles, she concluded.

Wayne, a member of the Vin’s Bus and Coach management team, travelled with the group, and acknowledged there must be large numbers of unsung carer heroes in our community. “It was great that these people got to have a break, and I was privileged to have been involved in helping organise the day trip with the team at Uniting Care Wesley Bowden.”