5 May 2016
Lawrence is a family man. As one of five children and an uncle to 13 nieces and nephews, living at home with family is an important part of his identity and wellbeing.
Since Lawrence was born with cerebral palsy 45 years ago, he has been cared for by his parents Lorraine and Larry, who are now in their 70s. Last year, Lawrence was the recipient of a Youngcare At Home Care Grant, which provided funding for essential respite services for him and his family.
Mum Lorraine explains the value of respite for primary carers, especially as they age and face their own health issues. “Being a full-time carer can be exhausting at times, because you constantly have to be aware of what is happening, and there is always the fear that Lawrence may fall or become anxious. It was particularly important for us to receive a grant for respite last year as my husband, Larry was facing poor health.”
As well as providing carers with a much needed break to recharge, respite also offers opportunities for the recipient. Lawrence was able to enjoy six weekends away throughout the year where he could participate in new activities and meet new friends.
For Lawrence, weekends away also mean a greater sense of choice and independence, and being able to more fully live the life of a young person. “I’m lucky to be able to live at home with my family,” Lawrence says. “But I also enjoy spending weekends away where I can challenge myself to do the things that I wouldn’t normally do.
On my first weekend away I had some great adventures meeting new people, playing mini golf, visiting the markets and even going out for dinner. I really enjoyed making new friends and being independent from Mum and Dad in a place where I knew I was safe.
Now that I know it’s possible for me to be more independent, I’ve started to think about all of the opportunities that are available to me and I’m looking forward to new adventures in the future.”
Since 2009, Youngcare At Home Care Grants have distributed over $3 million to fund essential care equipment, home modifications and respite, enabling 528 young Australians with high care needs to remain at home with loved ones and avoid entering aged care. The program has been expanding each year, and with grants being offered in South Australia later this year, Youngcare At Home Care Grants are now available in seven states and territories.