I was short sighted from an early age, often bullied in school, I found it difficult to follow what was going on in class and was embarrassed to ask for help. This resulted in a poor education that lead to limited future career opportunities. For many years I had to work physically demanding or extremely mundane jobs out of necessity.
I was thirty four years old before I was diagnosed with the hereditary eye condition known as Macular Atrophy. On top of discovering I had been living with a disability for most of my life, I was also made redundant from my job of fifteen years. I soon realised I was eligible for government support and that’s when I made a radical career change.
Growing up I had always wanted to do more for the community. I was determined to focus all my skills and talents to support people in need. Now seeking out career opportunities with organisations supporting people with disability, I began working in different organisations providing community outreach, disability advocacy and disability support. Meanwhile I was receiving government funded supports which lead me to discover Home Care Heroes! (Like Family).
It is a strange feeling providing support for others when at times I required support myself. I have slowly realised that receiving support wasn’t a sign of weakness but it was simply living life with a disability. Being a very independent individual who enjoys working autonomously, I was not used to receiving support from anyone except from my family.
I was pleasantly surprised that NDIS funding helped equip me with a social support team. It’s been a positive experience allowing me to participate in activities that interest me, while also increasing my confidence when out in the community. I now have new goals such as skills training to improve my career.
I am currently extremely fortunate to be entrusted to care for an amazing group of people full time. I hope the support I provide them whether it be helping with exercise, house hold chores or companionship when out in the community, has a positive impact on their lives and can empower them to overcome any barriers they might be facing.
I encourage others with disability to experience the other side of receiving care. As carers with lived experience, providing care with empathy and kindness would come naturally, creating a tremendously rewarding experiences for all.