News &

A picture of two people looking at a camera with a blue background. Text reads: "Leonie's Caring story"

Leonie shares her caring story

We recently sat down and spoke to Leonie, a carer living in WA supporting her uncle with Down Syndrome.


When did you realise you were a carer?

Leonie first got a glimpse of the caring role when she visited her mum who at the time was caring for Leonie’s Uncle Eric who has Down Syndrome. Leonie’s caring role first began when she started helping her mum with weekly tasks such as shopping, appointments, and home maintenance.

Then sadly three years ago, her mum passed away and she made a promise that she would care for her Uncle Eric for as long as she could.

“Mum’s biggest worry was what would happen to her little brother Eric. I promised Mum that I would care for him for as long as I physically could. Really, I was paying it forward as my mum was my aunty who took me in when I was seven after my mum was killed in a car accident.”

After Leonie’s mum had passed away, Eric moved in with Leonie and her husband.

“It was such an overwhelming time in those early months of caring because I was also grieving the loss of my mum.”


Learning what supports were available

“I went to a Carer Expo in the early days and didn’t realise just how much support there is for both the carer and the person being cared for.”

Leonie found not only help for her uncle Eric but also support from Carers WA that would assist her as his carer.

“Uncle Eric is sweet-natured gentleman, who unfortunately grew up not being taught any life skills. For this, he needs 24/7 assistance, so the need for extra support is essential so I don’t burnout.”


How the pandemic affected Leonie

“When the first COVID-19 lockdowns hit, it was really difficult being together 24/7 with no respite, it really took its toll. The silver lining of the situation meant that Eric was able to get more funding, which helped us both.”

“We have support workers that help get him ready every morning which takes the pressure off.”


Accessing supports and services

“I have accessed some very helpful Carers WA workshops such as the Compassion Fatigue and the counselling service.”

“Caring for someone can be hard work, I’m not going to lie, sometimes it can be frustrating, but it’s also very rewarding.”


Advice for those new to the caring role

“Through the help of Carers WA and my own experiences as a carer, I’ve learnt how important it is to care for myself so that I can continue to care for my uncle.”

“I have weekly massages, this is my non-negotiable and I like to have my hobby which is making cold processed soap and candles.”

“I kind of thought by this time in life I’d be starting a new career, well I am in a way, it’s certainly not a financial one, but it is richly rewarding!”


Looking for what free services and supports might be available?

Please call 1800 422 737 or complete this request for call-back and a Carers WA team member will be in touch shortly.

  • Person smiling whilst turning around.

    Free dental offer for National Carers Week

    FREE dental exam, clean and x-rays for unpaid carers across Australia on Saturday 20th October! To celebrate National Carers Week, Carers Australia has joined forces with Maven Dental Group to offer a free dental exam, clean &Read more

  • Two caring sisters with dark curly hair hugging - carer support groups

    ‘Caring is Sharing’ Support Groups

    ‘Caring is Sharing’ Support Groups As carers are seen to have one of the highest incidences of stress, depression and burnout, we are focused on prevention and encouraging carers to explore their experiences in aRead more

  • Woman in caring role sits in a grey armchair

    Sharon’s Carer Story

    About Sharon Sharon Bunter is a family carer. She cares for her 26-year-old son who returned back to the family home after he experienced a major breakdown due to his mental health challenges in OctoberRead more

  • Woman in a caring role smiles at the camera in an office area

    Lynette’s Carer Story

    About Lynette Lynette Downes was a carer for her mum who lived with dementia for 10 years. As Lynette’s mother’s condition worsened Lynette took on more and more of the household responsibilities, moving in withRead more

  • New services for carers coming in 2019

    The new services will focus on providing carers with access to early intervention, preventative and skill-building supports, to improve carer well-being and long-term outcomes. These new services form part of the Integrated Carer Support ServiceRead more

  • People enjoying lunch outside

    Accessing a Home Survey

    The Accessing a Home project aims to identify and address barriers people with disability face when seeking adequate, accessible, affordable and safe homes. Carers WA has partnered with Foundation Housing, a leading community housing provider,Read more

  • People working in a co-working office

    Become an e-learner!

    Carers WA has recently launched an e-learning platform offering free online education courses. The courses have been designed for carers, people with care needs, support workers, health professionals, and the wider community. The first twoRead more

  • Different Lens’ – Screenwest and Carers WA Initiative

    What is the DIFFERENT LENS’ Initiative?  Carers WA is working together with Screenwest for a one-off opportunity for a Western Australian Producer or Production Company to work with emerging storytellers and practitioners who identify asRead more