Community

Carers’ groups seek new members

The City of Melbourne is seeking members for new carers’ groups, following the success of a pilot group at the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Carlton.

Members Jan and Ken said the group is made up of people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds, but they all have a lot in common.

‘Carers have empathy you don’t get anywhere else,’ Jan said.

‘Even other members of your family, doctors or social workers might not even really get it, if they haven’t been a primary carer.

‘We like to hear each other’s stories. You start to think: I’m not carrying this weight by myself. I’m not the only person this has happened to.

‘Going to the group is a very mentally healthy thing to do. We can share our frustrations, or sadness, but there’s also a lot of laughter and friendship.’

Through the carers’ group, two members have discovered that they are neighbours, and another found out that he could access additional Centrelink support.

‘It’s one of the best groups of any kind I’ve ever been involved in. Within half an hour we just clicked,’ Ken said.

‘A couple of members have told me they feel like a burden has been lifted from their shoulders. They thought they were on their own, but there are so many of us out there.

‘Going to the group is a very mentally healthy thing to do. We can share our frustrations, or sadness, but there’s also a lot of laughter and friendship.’

‘It can be hard for carers to get out and about as we need to find alternative care for the person we look after. The City of Melbourne provides a respite service so I can attend and may be able to help others, too.’

Each meeting of the group is based on a theme and often a guest speaker. This usually dissolves into a more informal discussion, with healthy refreshments provided.

‘If a carer is not feeling light-hearted, if they are feeling a little bit down and swamped, I think they should think about coming along,’ Jan said.

‘We’ve all had those feelings at different stages and the group helps you come out of it.’

If you live or care for someone in the City of Melbourne and are interested in joining a carers’ group, please contact the City of Melbourne on 9658 9658.

For more info visit Health and support services.

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