There are an estimated 2.65 million carers in Australia, many providing care and support to a friend or loved one.

Running from 10 to 16 October 2021, National Carers Week is a time to recognise and celebrate carers doing an extraordinary job.

This year’s theme is ‘Millions of Reasons to Care’’, and for Pearl, her most important reason to care is her love and commitment to her husband Walter.

Pearl has been a carer for over 35 years, first as a paid carer, and is now caring for Walter with the support of Juniper’s Home and Community Care services.

Walter, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, is living with Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that affects his central nervous system. In the earlier years of his diagnosis, Walter was still mobile and zipped around on a scooter. Today he is permanently in a wheelchair.

“Whatever comes Walter’s way, he charges past it. He is strong-willed and takes everything in his stride,” said Pearl.

Together Walter and Pearl have a son and daughter along with four young grandchildren.

Walter was a mining superintendent in the Pilbara region, and as a family, they lived up north for nearly 20 years until they moved to Perth for their children to finish their senior schooling and to better support Walter.

Walter is an avid reader and the beach is the couple’s happy place.

“I take him down to the beach, and we eat fish and chips and sit together,” said Pearl.

Being a carer can be very rewarding. However, from time to time, carers may need some extra help and support. Juniper’s Home and Community Care team allow Walter and Pearl to remain at home together, providing support to them when needed.

Receiving support for the past twelve years, Walter is one of Juniper’s long-term clients.

Every second Thursday, Juniper’s care team provide care and support to Walter and assist Pearl with day-to-day activities. These visits also enable Pearl to attend her part-time cleaning job as well as doing things she enjoys such as attending musicals and the football.

Pearl understands being a carer can have its challenges but tries to live life to the fullest and focus on the positives.

“It’s not a job – it is part of the marriage. And a part of life. I take one day at a time,” said Pearl.

“Walter and I are looking forward to putting up our Christmas lights. We have a family lights switch-on party, Santa comes for the children and everyone brings a plate to share. It’s wonderful!”

“I am learning all the time. I recall a lot of things from my professional caring days.”

To find out more about National Carers Week or how to show your appreciation for carers around Australia, visit the National Carers Week website.

Juniper Home and Community Care

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