In the news – Elizabeth’s Story, Carers’ Week 2014

Working full time is enough of a job for anyone, but add to that the responsibility of being a full-time carer for your partner and the pressure is truly on.

Elizabeth Melksham works at PresCare’s Day Therapy Centre in Coopers Plains, and her husband Robert has required full time care for the past eight years due to suffering from degenerative arthritis and type 2 diabetes.

Elizabeth says that Robert was diagnosed with arthritis in 1997 after a fall from a horse required various tests including x-rays and an MRI.
“Robert was still fully mobile back then,” Elizabeth says. “It’s only been the past seven or eight years where I have had to take on the role of carer as he can’t walk further than a dozen metres unaided, and requires help for general daily living activities.”

Elizabeth says the biggest challenge for her is asking for help, as she freely admits she is a proud woman and does not like to admit she can’t do it all.

“Being a full time worker and a full time carer is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting,” Elizabeth admits. “My husband tells me he’s grateful for all that I do as he says a lot of women would have walked away from this, but that’s just not in me.”

The advice that Elizabeth gives other people in her situation is to take things one day at a time, but also to ensure they look after themselves at least as well as they can for their loved one. Elizabeth recently had a fall resulting in a painful shoulder injury, which she says occurred partly because she was tired and not paying attention.

Carers should be aware that there are support groups out there for them, including Carers Queensland, which offer social and emotional support as well as time out and a chance to share information and ideas.