- On 28/03/2022
“I joined the carers’ program when I was at most vulnerable,” revealed Michael Katzew, one of the most recent participants of MannaCare’s Carers Sharing through Writing Program.
Caring for a loved one can be one of the hardest but also one of the most rewarding roles anyone can do. Carers often feel alone as they look after a loved one day in, day out. A writing program such as this provides an opportunity for carers to come together in a safe and non-judgemental group and share experiences.
Commencing in 2020, during the pandemic, it quickly adjusted to a hybrid model and thrived.
Tanya Warms, MannaCare Volunteer Coordinator, explains.
“I decided to coordinate the Carers’ Writing Program to offer our carers a chance to meet one another, especially during COVID lockdown times when meeting one another was impossible. Utilising a format already devised by Professor Richard Friedman of La Trobe University, I thought it would be beneficial to offer this model at MannaCare. The program has been successful because of the skills of both our facilitators, Richard Davis and John Millard who have experience with both writing groups, and in also for caring for a loved one. Their skill set was the perfect match for this program.”
With the wonderful life-affirming feedback from the participants, MannaCare has created an effective and unique carers’ program – one that MannaCare is proud of.
As Michael attests to, it has been cathartic in some respects, as he shares his story.
“After a few failed attempts at putting my wife of 50 years, Sandra, into permanent care and then coming home one day and finding my two daughters, but not Sandra in the house, I realised they had done the deed as they knew that I couldn’t do it. I was relieved but very sad.
I was alerted to the existence of the carers’ program and joined it. It gave me an opportunity to unburden and lose my sadness with others, who were all in difficult family circumstances.
The actually writing of my presentation and sharing it assisted in me getting a better understanding of my circumstances. It also did have, I think, some cathartic effort.
I would certainly advise anyone who loses a loved one or has seemingly insolvable issues in a domestic situation, to unburden and join a carers’ program.”
Our two amazing facilitators, John and Richard provide the knowledge, empathy and compassion to support the participants as they share their experiences through conversation and writing, discover new coping strategies and develop a valuable support network.
“We became involved with the Carers Sharing Through Writing Group because we thought we could assist participants in their most difficult task of caring for their loved ones. Many feel isolated and on their own, and our group is able to offer them the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other. Working with Tanya has been very satisfying because she is so professional and selfless in her approach. We feel gratified in what we are doing as we can see how we assist with highlighting the importance of caring for their own well-being and that of their loved ones. Having been carers we can empathise and understand. What we do seems to be appreciated which gives us a good feeling.” John Millard and Richard Davis, Co- facilitators, Carers Sharing through Writing Program