Naomi first identified as being a carer after she learned about Carers Victoria and the support for carers that is available. “I’ve always been just mum and I still am,” she says. “But I’m a carer also. It’s a label, but it’s a positive label. And it’s a supportive label. Being a carer is something that I’m proud of, as well as being a mum, because anyone can be a mum but not everyone can be a carer.”
Naomi cares for her daughter Sarah, who needs care 24 hours a day. “My duties vary from personal care to meal prep, helping her to eat, dress, therapy, arranging appointments,” she says. “Everything really.”
“It’s a 24/7 job with no lunch breaks, no annual leave, no wages, nothing!”
Every time Naomi takes Sarah to hospital for an accident or check-up, Naomi is asked by the staff if she has medical training because she is so familiar with medical terminology. “I know more about the brain than a lot of GPs or hospital staff,” she says. “You can’t be treated like an idiot by doctors if you know what you are talking about. Nobody knows my Sarah like I do.”
Naomi says that her relationship with Carers Victoria has been “amazing”.
“The relationships I have made over the years have enabled me to grow as a person and know that I can do this,” she says. “I have been able to access NDIS and other support services like respite and recreational opportunities for Sarah.”
Her advice to other carers is to ask for help. “Don’t be a martyr and try and do it all yourself. Perfection is not reality. Just be kind to yourself and don’t refuse help or feel embarrassed or ashamed about your situation.”
“Sarah doesn’t care what people think of her,” says Naomi. “And neither should I.”