While caring for a loved one with MND can be very rewarding, it also involves many stressors. It can be difficult for carers to find time for themselves and since caregiving can be an ongoing challenge, the emotional impact can snowball over time. And so, it’s important to remember that carers also need to take time out to care for themselves so they can continue to provide the best care for others.
But first, what is carer burnout
If the stress of caregiving isn’t well managed then it can take a toll on other aspects of your life, such as your health, relationships, and state of mind and this can eventually lead to carer burnout. Carer burnout is when you are feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. When you reach this point of exhaustion, both you and the person you’re caring for can suffer. That’s why taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Cultivating your own emotional and physical well-being is just as important as making sure your loved one is receiving appropriate and loving care.
So here are some of the best resources we’ve found to help carers of people with MND to avoid carer burnout:
If you care for a family member or friend, then Carer Gateway could help you. Carer Gateway provides practical advice and support for carers as well as:
- Helping you to get the services and support you need
- Free counselling services over the phone
- Self-guided free coaching to help you in your carer role
Carer Gateway is an Australian Government initiative and can also provide information on respite, financial supports and planning for an emergency. Find out more here.
A new website to support people in Australia who are caring for a partner, relative or friend living with a terminal illness. CarerHelp features:
- Evidence based and practical information about symptoms of carer burnout
- How to get help on financial/legal issues
- Downloadable forms, tools and online learning modules for carers
CarerHelp has been developed as part of the Australian Family Carer Toolkit Project and it aims to ensure that Carers are more informed and better prepared for their role. The idea is that by providing carers with appropriate information and support, they will feel less distressed and more competent, improving their overall well-being. Find out more here.
Online Carer Support – MND NSW
Natalie Caruana, our Carer Support Program Coordinator, facilitates groups for carers and younger carers. These carer groups meet online monthly to share their experiences of caring. As well as support, carers will learn from one another as to what does and doesn’t work when supporting someone with complex needs as well as juggling life and family commitments. Stay for the whole session or just pop by to say hello, our carers set their own pace.
To find out more and upcoming dates, please see our events page here.
Self-care and wellbeing
Carers NSW held a range of online events during National Carers Week in 2020 with a range of free online self-care and wellbeing workshops for carers. These workshops are now available to view online.
Improve your circulation, balance and health with these simple tai chi movements and gentle breathing guided by professional tai chi teacher Stephen Procter from Tai Chi Health for Life, in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a small space, comfortable clothing and a willingness to relax and enjoy yourself. To watch this session click here
Strength and Balance
Gently develop Strength & Balance from head to toe with a range of simple moves. A rejuvenating experience with simple to follow exercises for everyone. The emphasis will be to go at your own pace and set the tone for how you want to exercise, release tension and most importantly feel better through your whole body. Led by experienced instructor, Stephen Gammack from Soulfit. Stephen has been involved in fitness and wellbeing for over 20 years and has a philosophy of a relaxed and calm approach to physical fitness. All you need is a dining chair (no arms if possible) and a drink to stay hydrated. To watch this session click here
Feeling stressed or anxious at this time? Join professional meditation teacher Stephen Procter from Meditation in The Shire within the comfort of your own home, as he guides you in mindfulness meditation techniques to help you to relax and release stress. To watch this session click here
The Gentle Breath Meditation
We can all benefit from taking a moment to relax and unwind and there are some simple techniques we can use to really allow our body to relax and let go any tension we hold. This meditation class can be done seated or lying down and is 30 minutes of time to yourself to reconnect and rejuvenate through some very simple guided breathing and very gentle movements. Led by Stephen Gammack from Soulfit. To watch this session click here
Art workshop: Nourish and Flourish - the Art of Self-Care
Explore your creativity and join Art Therapist, Sally Swain for a workshop on the art of self-care. Use your own art medium and paper (coloured pencils, pens or paint would be ideal, however any drawing instrument will be ok). To watch this session click here
Music with Miriam Lieberman and her trio
An award winning singer songwriter, Miriam has an unmistakable voice and is known for her own unique style on the kora – a West African harp, the guitar as well as her songwriting. Miriam plays beautiful melodic music and is joined by the luscious vocal harmonies and soaring string arrangements of trio members Lara Goodridge and Susie Bishop. This performance, as a special thank you to carers is not to be missed. About Miriam - To watch this session click here