Take care of yourself and loved ones
CARING for a loved one in the family home can be tiring and stressful, but there are services increasingly offering support, relief and respite.
Vince Zollo, 75, has been attending the ECH Overnight Respite Centre and Day Program at Henley Beach since February, giving his wife, Anna, a much-needed break.
“I couldn’t do without it, because it’s like having someone with you, walking through this process, helping you along,” Mrs Zollo says.
“Helping him and helping me – I think it’s marvellous.”
Mr Zollo suffered a stroke three years ago, which affected the left side of his body, his vision and memory.
He’s very happy to go to ECH for six days and one night every week, where he says “they spoil me”.
Meanwhile Mrs Zollo can do what she needs to do to keep the house in order.
Carers tend to neglect their own health and wellbeing.
A population-based crosssectional survey in SA found informal (family) carers were more likely to report chronic conditions, psychological distress and disability, and to perceive their health status as poor to fair than non-carers.
Carers were more likely to have diabetes, asthma and arthritis, plus risk factors such as smoking, raised cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The University of Adelaide and UniSA study, published in the journal BMJ Open, called for “more appropriate disease management strategies that are specific to carers”.
ECH chief executive Dr David Panter says the respite service at Henley Beach was developed and co-designed with families specifically for people living with dementia.
“We’ve created that service to be as convenient and family-friendly as possible in response to what those people were telling us they wanted,” he says. “We started at Henley Beach to see how it would go and now that it has been successful, we are looking to replicate that in other locations.”
Dr Panter says the focus at ECH was on enabling people to live independently at home.
“We are looking at a range of other services that will enable families to feel more confident that they can cope and that their loved one is able to cope living at home much, much longer,” he says.