Elizabeth Scott, Executive Officer to the Chief Executive
Carers face difficult juggle
16 Oct 2020
For Elizabeth Scott, becoming a carer for her mother meant quickly learning to juggle her caring responsibilities with the demands of fulltime work, parenting and life.
Elizabeth, an Executive Officer to the Chief Executive at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, saw her caring journey begin earlier this year. Her mother, who was in the early stages of dementia, had deteriorated following some sad family news.
Elizabeth’s mother required two months’ hospitalisation after which she could no longer live independently. Helping her mother adjust to a new life in an aged care facility while tackling the challenge of emptying her mother’s home on the Central Coast and working fulltime made the first few months of caring particularly challenging for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth says, “With Mum now settled in a local nursing home, I know she’s getting care there so that pressure has been taken off me. My carer role now is about making sure she’s got what she needs when she needs it.”
“I’m the central contact for doctors, for the care facility and if Mum needs something, I take care of that. There’s a lot of negotiating and managing things, anticipating Mum’s needs and thinking at a really detailed level about Mum’s personality and what she would normally like when I’m making decisions. With Mum’s dementia, if I can get that stuff right, it really helps with her anxiety.”
Reflecting on her experiences during National Carer’s Week, Elizabeth says, “I had no idea 12 months ago that this would be where I was at with my life and with mum. When you’re a carer you don’t get a choice, you just have to do it. I’m just learning as I go and I take it one day at a time.”
Elizabeth says for carers, time is precious and particularly important for working carers. “Having time, because you’re constantly juggling everything in life, is so important. For managers, that means supporting carers with the time they need. I’m grateful for the support I’ve received to have the time to go and visit Mum in the nursing home in the middle of the day because the home’s COVID visiting hours don’t work if you work fulltime.”
Elizabeth says she is grateful for a supportive boss and for the moments she can enjoy with family and friends in between her demands. “My daughter keeps me grounded. She calms me down when I need it. Sometimes you can’t help getting upset or angry or sad, but I’m trying to do things that I like, to give me some time for me.”
Information for carers available at CarersNSW