Lifestyle

Little respite from labour of love

VIRTUAL PRISONER: Gwen Hyde, of Tabulam, is upset she is unable to obtain respite care for her husband and is lucky to get one day off every six weeks.
VIRTUAL PRISONER: Gwen Hyde, of Tabulam, is upset she is unable to obtain respite care for her husband and is lucky to get one day off every six weeks. Jerad Williams

FOR all but a few days each year, Gwen Hyde is a virtual prisoner of her remote farm about 45 minutes from Tabulam.

Mrs Hyde, 60, spends her days caring for her husband, Archie, 83, who suffers from dementia and severe arthritis. Only when she can get someone else to watch him can she leave to do basic jobs such as buying feed for the animals on the farm.

Under her current respite care arrangements, that works out at about one day every six weeks.

On the other side of the region, at Burringbar, Alex Alexiou and his wife Kelly Ryan just need a good night’s sleep.

For more than two years, the couple, along with Ms Ryan’s mum, have been giving around-the-clock care to their daughter Artemissia, 3, who has a rare brain disease.

Some hard fighting has yielded amazing gains in the little girl, but she still needs constant monitoring which means none of the three get to sleep through a night without the help of a respite care worker.

More hard fighting won the family funding for respite care, but Artemissia’s medical needs are so high the worker needs to be qualified as a registered nurse, and finding one of those around Burringbar has proven difficult.

The two families point to significant holes in respite services designed to provide back-up to people – usually family members – who often sacrifice their own quality of life to make the most of someone else’s.

Mrs Hyde said she had been caring for her husband since his dementia started to become debilitating 10 years ago. It’s still getting worse.

The easy option might be to put Mr Hyde in a nursing home and go on with her life, which is no option at all.

“I believe people should be alive to live until they are dead,” she said.

For Mr Hyde that meant being able to work the farm, under supervision.

“Archie is old – he’s done his bit and he should be cared for. When we went to war he left school to run the dairy farm – he was 12,” she said.

Mrs Hyde said she used to get a day of respite care for Mr Hyde once a fortnight, but since transferring to a new care provider that had been cut to three days every four months.

Ian Leven, senior service co-ordinator with Kyogle District Care Connections, which provides respite care for Mr Hyde, said the reduced care availability was because Mr Hyde’s previous provider had access to funding sources his organisation did not and was closer to them.

Mr Leven said his organisation was structured so every cent of the money allocated to caring for Mr Hyde was spent on him.

However, respite care generally suffered a Government funding shortage that left most carers without enough back-up, he said.

For Artemissia Alexiou, respite care is essential as she battles tobegin her life.

Her father, Alex, said his hard work fighting to get respite funding was being foiled by a lack of registered nurses able to help care for her.

Mr Alexiou said the Queensland-based care provider responsible for helping look after Artemissia had plenty of nurses on its books, but few prepared to travel to Burringbar.

Any registered nurse willing to help provide respite care toArtemissia should call the Crewe Sharp agency on 07 5504 7760.



Teen actor stars in The Dark Tower

BIG SCREEN: Alstonville's Nicholas Hamilton will be seen in some exciting films this year.

Alstonville's Nicholas Hamilton is part of the cast of the film.

Hogan holds firm on Australia Day date

MP Kevin Hogan at the opening of the Ballina Marine Tower on North Wall.

PAGE MP slaps down Lismore City Council over planned date change

Gig guide: hot shows on our stages this week

DUO: Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey are touring together to perform songs from their album Great Country Songbook Vol 2. Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole have stayed at the forefront of Australian country music for close to two decades, and the combination of these two dynamic performers has proven to be a hit with live audiences having toured the country on several occasions since their first encounter almost 20 years ago. Adam and Beccy have finally taken their favourite list of country duets to the studio and they have now hit the road with The Great Country Song Book Volume II Tour. At the Ballina RSL Club this Saturday from 8.30pm. Details from ballinarsl.com.au

Music, theatre, karaoke, forums and more

Local Partners

Design student makes it to semis for prestigious awards

DAREL Bonanno has been selected as a semi-finalist in the international Adobe Design Achievement Awards.


Bee Gees music is 'stayin' alive' 40 years later

HOT HITS: The Australian Bee Gees Show is coming to the Northern Rivers.

Show celebrates 40 years of Saturday Night Fever

Expo to help you discover your career

Do you know someone who would benefit from a Careers expo?

Richmond Valley youth are invited to careers expo on August 28.

Connect with North Coast artists on 2017 Mud Trail

On the path of the 2017 North Coast Mud Trail.

"To have completed a piece created by your own hands...is special.”

The two stars who intimidated Chris Hemsworth

HE plays a superhero on the big screen, but Chris Hemsworth has revealed that he was ‘weirdly shaken’ when he met two other big name actors.

Sam Newman: How a Playboy magazine changed everything

The new crew of The Footy Show.Source:Supplied

How a Playboy magazine changed everything.

Leah slams Matty: ‘I was incredibly disappointed’

Leah says she was ‘incredible disappointed’ with Matty J.

BACHELOR evictee's controversial chat with Kyle and Jackie O.

John Eales finds peace with the haka

Inia Maxwell and John Eales in a scene from the documentary John Eales Reveals: The Haka.

Rugby legend is on a quest to learn about a sacred Maori tradition/

The Bachelor recap: Secret pasts publicly exposed

Matty J is left speechless on The Bachelor.

TWO Bachelor contestants’ secret adult pasts have been exposed.

Mother-daughter duo passes Top of the Lake test

Alice Englert, Jane Campion and Nicole Kidman pose for a photograph at the Top of the Lake: China Girl Australian premiere in Sydney.

Alice Englert is a feisty addition to the cast of mum's crime drama.

What's on the big screen this week

Idris Elba in a scene from the movie The Dark Tower.

IDRIS Elba debuts as the Gunslinger in The Dark Tower.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Reports of Ibrahim family connections to farm and food hub

John Ibrahimat Bluesfest 2012.

REPORTS circulate colourful Sydney family have investments on the NR

Stunning, heritage-listed Coast home going under the hammer

STUNNING: Buderim House, a stunning heritage-listed Queenslander estate, is going to auction.

Coast home that played host to royalty is set for auction