October 22, 2002, Tuesday
HUWE Heggblum has been caring for his wife, Adele, who has multiple sclerosis, since 1985. As her condition has deteriorated, Mr Heggblum has adjusted "bit by bit", learning in stages how to cope with his caring role.
For Mr Heggblum, protecting his wife's dignity and giving her some independence is paramount. At 73, he has successfully applied to the Port Adelaide/Enfield council to build a new house, designed to meet his wife's special needs and give her back some independence.
He says "life is what we make of it" and, for him, laughter is an important part of coping with the day-to-day difficulties of caring for another person.
Carers Awareness Week will seek to uncover some of the thousands of hidden carers, like Mr Heggblum, in our community who are providing high-level care for a family member or friend. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 carers in South Australia are not accessing support and services available to them in their caring role, most probably because they do not recognise themselves as carers.
Executive director of the Carers Association SA Rosemary Warmington says: "Carers commonly attribute a range of health problems associated with their responsibilities, including physical injuries from lifting and anxiety and depression." With access to support and services, caring can be rewarding and provide opportunities for personal growth and the development of new skills.
During Carers Awareness Week, Carers Association of SA is urging all carers who are not already in contact with the association to call 1800 815 549 or visit the information display in Rundle Mall on October 23.
"The display enables carers to learn more about what services and support are available to them," says Ms Warmington.
In 2001, 50 per cent of full-time carers reported an income of under $200 a week, according to the Carers Association SA. What is just as alarming is that there are 13,000 carers in South Australia under 18.
© Copyright 2002 Nationwide News Pty Limited