Andrea was a carer for 11 long years.

During that time, she felt isolated and broken – like she was living for everybody else instead of thinking about what would make her happy.

She felt lost and didn’t know where to start in finding herself again until she found Your Caring Way.

Your Caring Way gave Andrea the support and guidance she needed to contemplate what goals were important to her, find her feet again, and take back control of her life.

With Your Caring Way’s support, Andrea got back on track by getting a job as a Support Worker, something meaningful that allows her to exercise freedom and choice.

Andrea says she has an identity once more – one that makes her feel empowered and independent.

Read her story:

“I was so broken from being a carer. I had a lovely lady from Your Caring Way who helped me get my head around, even contemplating my goals and dreams and building myself back up.

Shauna was the one who got me my job at St Louis Aged Care, and I’ve been with it for 15 months.

I love that job; it is the best job in the world, and I couldn’t have done it without Shauna.

I’ve been told numerous times that I’m one of the number one recommended carer because I take that little bit of extra oomph to make a difference. So, thank you.

Having this program has been an amazing thing, and now I have even further dreams to go on in the organisation and my goals have gotten bigger and bigger. That’s literally all I’ve been doing now is going for one goal after the next. And I’ve got the headspace to do it now! That’s a huge thing.

Coming from a caring role, you are so isolated, you are so broken, you literally live for everybody else and forget who you are. You forget what you stand for. You have no opinion, you have no life, everything revolves around the person you care for.

But then you actually realise you can stand on your own two feet, and you can use the strength from yourself to literally make your life. You don’t know; you don’t realise you can do it. And with the support, it’s been amazing.

The biggest thing I learned was how to sell myself. We sell ourselves so short, and we don’t realise all those roles we’ve taken on when caring actually means a lot in the community and how much it's valued.

When I went for my first job interview, I was nervous as anything. But you’ve got this thing on you where you go: just think about what they taught you, what your value is, what you can actually encourage yourself to do and put that on, so you can go in with your head held high and say yes, I was a carer for 11 years.

My next dream is to get a car. I’m in the process of going for a loan, and I’ve never done anything like that before, but I’ve got the confidence to go in, and I’m making an appointment with my bank; I’ve got my paperwork and I’m like, I’ve got this.

Now I’ve got a car, and I have to pay rego. The first time I got insurance for my car was a year ago.

I could never afford insurance; I just couldn’t afford it. It’s just those little things. Being able to go to the shops and go, oh gee, it’s on special. I really like that top.

It’s the freedom of actually going into your bank account and going… choice! And I earned that. It’s not just given to me. The carer payment was an allowance, and I couldn’t live on that.

Now, I can actually have a budget, and I got to save money because I can save money. For the first time in such a long time, I can actually save money!

I have a job! You don’t know how huge that is. I thought the biggest, hugest thing when I did my induction was being given my uniform. Do you know what I turned up with on my second day? My uniform. I’d never had a uniform.

I was so proud to walk into that place with a uniform! I know some people will think oh my gosh, a uniform, it’s so suffocating. Me, I’m so proud of my uniform.

I work as a carer. I have my name on a tag. It is so exciting! It’s crazy! It’s extremely empowering. It’s having an identity again. It’s just huge.

And that’s why I think every single day I just get up, I put on my uniform, I look in the mirror and I go yep, I’ve got my tag right, collar’s folded down all the time, got my pen out of my pocket and it sits right there and I’m ready to go. It’s made a huge difference to the financial side of things.”

Andrea – Support Worker