By Lucy Summers | Posted: Wednesday March 7, 2018
Jo and her husband, who are raising two of their grandchildren and an adopted child in South Otago, were recently referred to Anglican Family Care for support.
Both in their 60s, Jo* and her husband are kept very busy looking after the three children, which has become more difficult recently because Jo’s husband had a serious accident in the bush, resulting in numerous health problems.
Over the last 12 months, Jo began to feel that the home situation was crumbling. “I just felt overwhelmed by the pressure of working, raising the children and having a husband whose situation was deteriorating. I felt as though I couldn’t cope with what was happening any longer.”
Jo felt that they had nobody to support them, just each other. There were no other family members who could step in to help with the children. “I felt that the situation was getting worse and I realised I wasn’t coping. I was crying a lot and worried about the future.”
That’s where Anglican Family Care (AFC) came in. Jo’s family was referred to our services by the local ACC office who suggested AFC might be able to help with some respite care.
Jo felt this changed everything. A social worker met with Jo and her husband at their house. “I was so moved by the help and the support, and we found out about assistance that we never knew that we were entitled to. I can’t speak highly enough of Anglican Family Care – I just can’t. They really listened to us.”
The social worker was able to arrange respite care for the two youngest children at a camp in the Christmas holidays. “This would normally be out of our financial reach,” said Jo, “so the kids were just delighted and they had the most wonderful time.”
The social worker arranged a meeting with Work and Income NZ. “I never knew we were entitled to financial help for the two grandchildren, so the monetary burden of their education has been lifted.” Jo’s granddaughter is a high achiever at school and Jo had been very worried about how she could move forward with her education. But now that Work and Income NZ has come on board she is much more positive.
AFC also arranged for ACC to be at the meeting and they were able to offer practical help to Jo’s husband, who had been falling often. ACC agreed to fit rails in the bathroom so that Jo’s husband would no longer fall getting in and out of the bath. They also provided him with an alarm so that no matter where he is, he can call for help.
“This has given me a lot of peace of mind,” said Jo. “Before, I just couldn’t sleep, I was so worried about how I was going to get through, but the meeting that Anglican Family Care organised brought everyone together and has given me all the answers. I feel a lot more settled. I just can’t say enough about how I feel and the family feels.”
Jo also said it was wonderful how the social worker made sure that everything that had been agreed with ACC was actioned, and that she felt she could pick up the phone and ring her social worker if she needed to.
“I just think there should be extra funding for the likes of your agency, so you can reach more people. When things are crumbling around them, people should know that there is somewhere they can go for help. Otherwise, you just plod on, get up and carry on. Sometimes you just need to know where to start; where to go to for help. The help we had from AFC was just a real blessing.”
Anglican Family Care offers free home-based support for pregnant mums and parents or caregivers of babies and children aged up to 17 years. We connect clients with a range of community supports, and provide information on all aspects of parenting, including what to expect at different ages and stages of development, health, nutrition, education and safety issues.
Contact us on 0800 FAM CARE (0800 326 2273) or email us.
*Name changed to protect client privacy