Celebrating Carers at UTS: Professor Shirley Alexander
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education and Students)
My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s ten years ago. I was his carer for seven years.
Being a carer for someone with a complex illness means you’re essentially their chief information officer and advocate.
Although we had carers during the day, I took on the role at night. There were times of constantly interrupted sleep, changing sheets or calming Denis when he experienced hallucinations which can occur with Parkinson’s.
Balancing work and caring was tough, as it is for all carers. The hardest part is seeing your loved one, a brilliant mind and great wit, deteriorate both physically and mentally. Knowing how to support him through that was incredibly difficult.
I was very fortunate in the support I received from family, friends and colleagues. They made it possible for Denis to stay at home with me until he passed away.
To other carers, know there are wonderful support services both in the community and here at UTS. Ask for help. You are not on your own.