Isolated carer struggles to get a break

I am the sole carer for my terminally ill Australian husband (78). I am also new to Australia. Being “new” brings a whole string of problems: what to do, where to go, how to fill out the staggering stack of mandatory forms etc., etc.

I have been totally isolated for the past year with no “respite break” whatsoever and with no family or friends the strain on me is unimaginable!

In June our GP ordered me to take a break, away from my husband – as in not to drive/call/see him – in order to get some quality sleep. That was hard but necessary.

I managed – as in fought for – to get my husband into well-run respite/nursing home. He was well looked after, was fairly happy and I slept in the 7 days I was away, each day for 15 hours!!!

Carers – and especially sole senior carers – should be able to get a 3-night respite away from their charge. At this moment, all nursing homes who have respite facilities do not take clients for less then 14 days. That is often too long for the client and most definitely too short for the carer!

Centacare Marlin Coast (Cairns) for instance has been trying for a long long time and keeps being knocked back. The people who run that facility are angels. Centacare Marlin Coast would like to stay open longer but keeps being knocked back.

Around the northern part of Cairns there is nothing and Government and politicians should take note of this. Australia, like most countries around the world, has an increasinglye aging population. Not much is done for that group!

At present, nursing homes are being built with the speed of lightning as “retirement villages”, with prices start from $A500,000 and we all know what problems there are when the time comes to sell!

Not one single contractor is urged to build rental villas or units for the senior retirement population. Not every senior Australian resident can cough up that amount of money.

Most rental properties for seniors are not catering for their needs, prices are high and very often that group of the population gets bullied and taken advantage off.

Government and politicians could do immense good by immediately tackling this very very urgent problem.

Many seniors live in isolation and not by choice. This group is prone to suicide and loneliness is a silent killer, trust me!

Not all seniors in need are computer savvy. If they were, their loneliness might be a little less if they could communicate with each other.

I have much more to say, like being abused by an aid worker, but do not know where to go or what to do!

Cairns, Queensland