It’s like the long slow goodbye – that’s how Margaret O’Meara from Clifton Springs describes caring for her husband.
76-year-old Michael O’Meara (Mike) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in April 2021 and Margaret is his primary carer.
This week is National Carers Week and it’s aimed at recognising and celebrating people like Margaret, who is one of 2.65 million Australians providing care and support to a family member or friend.
Being a carer for a family member is a full-time job and Margaret admits, sometimes the job is a bit overwhelming, and she feels tied down. However, she is grateful that Mike’s illness isn’t progressing rapidly.
“Mike beats himself up about what he forgets, but still it’s not the worst thing, at the moment we’re holding our own, it’s been three and a half years and he’s still going well,” she says.
Mike is one of nine children and five siblings have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Margaret says she has a window into what the future will look like but for now, she can still do things with Mike that they both enjoy like going for a coffee.
Mike has recently joined Bellarine Community Health’s Social Support Program in a group designed specifically for people with memory loss.
“Every day he wakes up and says what’s on today, and I’ll say you’ve got your social group and he’ll say, what social group,” says Margaret. “He always comes home and says what a great group they are and how he enjoyed it.”
As well as its Social Support program, Bellarine Community Health also works with carers supporting family or friends in palliative care and parents with children navigating the NDIS or youth mental health.
National Carers Week is an opportunity to raise community awareness about the diversity of carers and their caring role because the likelihood is, we are all going to know a carer, need a carer or be a carer at some point in our lives.
For more information about being a carer you can contact Carers Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation which provides advice and information to support carers. www.carersvictoria.org.au
To find out more information about the BCH Social Support program call 1800 007 224 or click HERE.Leave a reply