How Emily found respite in her art

It was an ordinary visit to the GP that planted the seed for Emily to reach out for respite before she reached breaking point.  

When Home Care Assessor Donna and Emily first met, it was quite evident she was experiencing carer fatigue, so her doctor’s suggestion was appropriate and timely.  As full-time carer for her partner John, she had withdrawn from her former activities to focus her love and energy on him, and she was both physically and emotionally exhausted.  The energy reserves she did have left were there to care for John and their daily routine only.   

Making simple decisions had also become difficult for Emily due to the burnout. Even happy decisions led to tears. When asked by her friends where she would like to celebrate her birthday, she became emotional and overwhelmed and was not able to decide.   

Emily expressed concerns to Donna about her future caring for John as she did not have the energy to continue for long in her current state, but having someone else look after John was not an option.   This statement ignited Donna to find the right solution for Emily, and quickly.  


You can’t pour from an empty cup

She explained to Emily that her tank was empty and together they would work to fill it again. When asked what would help to achieve this she knew straight away. Emily had previously attended art classes where she had made some close friends. The problem was that the classes were an hour away so she would need a block of a few hours away from John to attend. 


Support through collaboration 

Donna liaised with colleagues, John’s service providers and a respite team to combine their support and coordinate efforts to make this happen for Emily.  

“Donna really listened to me.  She understood I was not ill, just exhausted, and she was really persistent in finding a way to give me a few hours off each week,” explained Emily. 

This combined respite solution allows Emily to attend her group art lesson where she catches up with friends, breathes and focusses on the beauty in front of her.  

“The opportunity to have regular short breaks has made a big difference to my outlook.” 

While these short respite breaks are only a few hours once a week, the impact they have holistically is huge. Emily now has some more fuel in her tank to continue caring for John. 

If you are caring for a loved one and feel you need support, please reach out to Aspire4Life by calling 1300 012 055 for more information.