National Carers Week: How Yooralla supports carers
DATE: 17 October 2017
National Carers Week 2017, which runs from 15-21 October, is a chance to recognise and celebrate the contributions of the 2.7 million unpaid carers across Australia.
Many of Yooralla’s services enable carers to take a break from caring for their family member. To recognise National Carers Week, we’re sharing Melissa’s story. Yooralla’s Recreation services provide support to her 16-year-old son Dylan and it means the world to Melissa
When Melissa is asked to describe her 16-year-old son Dylan, she describes an outgoing young man so full of life that he can barely sit still.
“Dylan loves getting out and about in the community; he’s definitely not happy to sit at home! He always wants to be out doing something,” laughs Melissa.
At four, Dylan was diagnosed with autism. He was non-verbal and required a wheelchair to get around. As Dylan’s full-time carer, Melissa struggled to manage Dylan’s support needs on her own. His behaviour could be difficult to handle and Melissa often found herself unable to leave the house.
Melissa started to look into weekend and holiday activities for Dylan – so she could continue to care for him, but also have a break when she needed it.
“You can’t keep giving 100 per cent if you don’t have time to recharge,” says Melissa.
While having a break was important to Melissa, finding the right program – one that was focused on getting Dylan out and about while meeting his support needs – was her number one priority.
Melissa came across Yooralla’s recreation services and signed Dylan up for a holiday camp, where he was able to have fun with other people his age in a fully supported environment.
As soon as Dylan attended his first camp, Melissa knew she had found the right fit for him. Now, 10 years have passed since Dylan’s first camp and he has no plans to stop going anytime soon.
“Dylan just has a ball – he just loves everything they get up to. They always plan fantastic activities and they always have a good mix of kids – he just loves it all,” says Melissa.
“Yooralla camps suit Dylan to a tee!”
Yooralla’s camps haven’t just had a positive effect on Dylan. They have played an integral role in supporting Melissa, and she’s not sure if she could have coped without them.
Melissa has chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which means she deals with chronic and widespread pain, coupled with severe fatigue. Yooralla’s programs mean that Melissa can take a break without feeling guilty. She knows her son is safe, spending time with his friends and doing activities he wants to do.
“Dylan is go-go-go, and that can be exhausting. I can’t do that day it day-in and day-out,” says Melissa.
Yooralla’s holiday camps have allowed Melissa to take time off to deal with her own health issues, as well as take a break from her daily routine.
“Yooralla’s camps are everything to us.”
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