The hidden impact of becoming a sudden carer is a stop start stalling affair

The journey that started with “The hidden cost of becoming a sudden carer is more than just emotional
Is more like a playground
Is more revealing than expected
of not caring with dignity, continues.

And it needs exposure.

As a carer, do you ever have those moments when you think to yourself “Yah, it’s all under control.“…? No, neither do I.

There are moments of joy, like today chatting away to mum she suddenly brightens and shows me the picture she’s drawn of her cat. She’s an artist from way back; drawing little animals, faces and things for her grandchildren and then great grandchildren. It all stopped a while back as her hands were shaking and she wasn’t well enough. Of course hearing she’s drawn a cat (and it looks pretty good) means she’s feeling her normal self at the moment.

At the moment.

It could all change in a heart beat. Life has a funny way of doing that. You never know what to expect from one day to the next; it feels like a rollercoaster. To continually come across as someone who is positive, on top of it and sorted is tiring! People wonder why you stop showing up to events, you don’t have time to talk on the phone for hours and your hair is suddenly short and uncoloured. It’s one less thing to worry about!

Because worry we do.

We worry about all sorts of things. Like do we have to complete a tax form for our mum? Do we have the right medical insurance for her now and why aren’t her prescriptions covered by her private health insurance or medicare? Why is she paying $6 per tablet. And when should I buy her new clothes, and does she has enough activities or things to keep her active “just in case”. There are just a million things to sort too.

She’s been in care for six months and we are still sorting the sale of her unit and we can’t sell her gopher. I still have a shower chair, brand new, that I can’t even give away. There will be a family out there who can’t afford one but I have no way of knowing.

Then we worry because she can’t make phone calls from her own Telstra mobile phone. For months. In fact, every time she’s tried to use it, its failed. Either the direct debit has failed and so her service gets cut (we still have to work out why that happened as no one can tell us) or she rings at the wrong time of day and gets charged $45 to speak to her sister for 20 minutes. She doesn’t understand. It worries me.

Her Telstra mobile plan has changed now – she can pay more to get a bigger threshold of calls. Great.

But for an 81 year old lady who just wants to call her sister in Victoria, I find it incredibly challenging why we can’t, in this day and age, simply devise the “mobile land line” type service. Meaning the call anyone anytime for a set monthly allowance and have the phone travel with you. She’d dearly love her land line back – but she pops in and out of hospital and it’s better for her to take the phone with her. We can all stay in touch then (without going via whatever reception she happens to be at). Plus when she’s in there – she can ring us.

Maybe there’s a new service for Telstra to think about. The one that services those who are in and out of hospital and simply need their number to be mobile. In the main those people are only ringing landlines anyway.

Let’s consider it an idea. And stop this affair of stalling my life. Get on with it.

As a Carer with a love for Microvolunteering, I lead the Facebook Community Groups for conversations and support in this area. It’s my way of giving back and to help others through the maze – if I can. You can locate the Australian Carer Facebook Group here:

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