Working together to care for two family members has brought mother-and-daughter team Stacy and Maeve Peel closer together.
Stacy is the full-time carer of her autistic son Cian and her ageing husband Reg, but a recent injury to her arm has meant she is unable to meet a lot of the physical requirements of caring.
About a year ago, 18-year-old Maeve stepped up to the task, officially becoming a full-time carer for her father and brother, to help ease the load on her mother.
October 14 marks the launch of Carers Week in Australia, with this year’s theme focusing on wellbeing and the releasing of stress.
For Maeve the transition to a carer hasn’t been “too much of a change”.
“I never put myself down as a carer, I just saw it as being a big sister and helping out,” Maeve said.
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Maeve was very modest about the work she does to support her mother in caring for Cian and Reg.
Throughout high school Maeve would cook dinner and clean the house to allow Stacy to be free to care for Cian.
“She’s grown up as a carer,” Stacy said.
“I was the main carer but now Maeve is because I can’t do physical things any more.”
Being present and available at any time were the most important responsibilities the mother-daughter duo had.
Recently Cian went to the Wonderland Retreat, which was a respite for NDIS recipients.
It was the first time the 12-year-old had spent a night away from home, without a family member.
“He absolutely loved it, so that was a huge thing for us,” Stacy said.
“I was so pleased for him that he could do it and proud of us for getting him to the point where he could do it.”
Stacy and Maeve are among the more than 85,500 primary carers in Tasmania, with family carers across the nation providing 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care each year.
The mother-daughter team ensure they get out of the house for a coffee together regularly.
“We talk to each other a lot, there’s a lot of eye rolling between us,” Stacy said.
Their bond had always been strong, but Stacy said since Maeve officially took on the caring role their communication and relationship had improved.
“We’ve always been pretty close, but we’ve got to be clear with what we’re saying to each other and what we need from each other,” Stacy said.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without her.”
The 18-year-old said being able to help her family made her feel good.
Carers Tasmania is holding two barefoot bowls events in the state’s North; October 17 from 3 to 5pm at the North Launceston Bowls and Community Club, and October 18 from 3pm to 5pm at the Burnie Greens.