Taking time out for herself is a rare indulgence for Amy Wilson.
Like many other carers, she puts the needs of her son Owen, 12, who has autism, ADHD and anxiety, above her own needs.
So the chance to connect with other carers, enjoy some time out and receive support and understanding from those going through a similar journey is very welcome.
Dr Wilson and other Ballarat carers have been invited to be part of Carers Victoria’s Mingle event at North Ballarat Sports Club on Thursday.
The Wilsons moved to Ballarat from Melbourne earlier this year so Owen could attend Ballarat Specialist School. He had been attending a mainstream primary school in Melbourne but was struggling in that environment.
“We thought this was the right place for him, so we upped sticks and moved to Ballarat,” Dr Wilson said.
Owen struggles with many aspects of daily life, but is a passionate drummer who is relishing his role in his school’s drumming group.
“Drumming is his biggest passion. His anxiety stops him from attending things like scouts and sporting groups and we are very limited in what we can do with his anxiety.”
Ms Wilson said one of the biggest challenges of being a carer was lack of understanding from other parents.
“When he was at mainstream school, other parents just didn’t understand and didn’t get how different their life was compared to this.
“It’s vital being able to talk to other people in same boat as you. We all have a different story, everybody’s circumstances are different and everyone’s caring role is slightly different, but we all understand the limitations and we all get that we have limitations.
Carers Victoria chief executive Scott Walker said one of the biggest challenges for carers was being able to take time out for themselves.
Each week across Australia, unpaid carers will spend 36 million hours caring for a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, or an older person with care needs.
“These Mingle events give them that opportunity to have a little bit of time for themselves and meet other people who are in a similar situation to them, to share their story in an informal setting, enjoy a meal and some entertainment, and participate in fun and educational activities,” Mr Walker said.
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