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On caring and being human

Jan 18 2019
“If someone asked me, what element has made the biggest difference in your sons’ life, the only thing I could answer is: I have always been there,” said Jane.

“At a very high personal cost,” she added.

“It was very hard to say No, and set boundaries back then. I never abandoned them. I just hung in there with them.”

Jane is 69 and her story is a bold perspective of the “complex arena of care.”

She knows from first-hand experience what’s involved within the caring realm and what it means to ‘be there’.

Jane had four children. Her twin sons, Simon and Andrew were diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17.

“When schizophrenia emerged in my family, we quite simply came off our tracks. Everything changed.”

Her oldest son stopped visiting and her daughter left the house, and despite all the difficult challenges she had to face, Jane didn’t give up.

After 27 years of being a carer for Simon and Andrew, Jane feels at ease.

“I’m getting there and so are they, each in their individual and unique ways,” she says.

Simon and Andrew are both 44 years old now. They don’t live with Jane anymore. They have their own places and they receive support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“I am blessed that they’re both still alive and finding purpose and meaning in their lives,” she says.

Jane came to Carers Queensland back in the mid-90s, when she began her public speaking career.

She moved from Brisbane to Stanthorpe where she attends Carers Queensland’s local Carer Support Group every month.

“It’s a wonderful service for us, especially because we are in a rural place. We are out of mainstream.”

“We talk extremely openly in that group and Jenny, who leads the group, is a wonderful listener. She’s open to learning and she really listens to what we have to say on the day.”

Working as a Diversional Therapist in Aged Care in the past and attending personal counselling, helped Jane understand her caring role and gave her the opportunity to be involved in other areas of care too.

“I found counselling invaluable. It really has been a big help over the years for me to understand my coping strategies, because I wasn’t coping before.

“I have also learnt to see that there are parallels between family carers and those trying to help carers. We all need support.”

“I think it comes down to the fact that we need to acknowledge our humanness. We as carers can get so bogged down in caring, we can easily forget that our support people are probably struggling too, with life or
even the role they are trying to play.”

Jane recently published her book “All the way to yesterday”.

 

To view the Summer edition of the TOGETHER magazine, click here.

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If you are interested in learning more about our Carer Support Groups, please call 1800 242 636 or visit carersqld.com.au/support-groups/

For more information on Jane’s book contact her on: janeknowles@dodo.com.au