The importance of caring for our society’s carers is a key tenet at the Quest for Life Foundation, whose passionate and dedicated programs team works closely with organisations to tailor carer workshops to help empower this vital group.
“Carers hold a very special place in our hearts here at Quest,” says Quest programs relations manager Candice Piper.
“We’re eternally grateful for what carers do on a day-to-day basis. They fill a role in the wider community that nobody else can do. Without them, we’d have some really unwell, uncared for, and vulnerable people living with serious mental or physical illness who would otherwise be largely alone in the community.
“These are people who do so much for their loved ones. When they come to us, they come here to fill up their buckets.”
Candice – who leads Quest’s programs intake team – works with carer respite organisations and services to create customised Caring for the Carer workshops to suit to the specific needs of each carer group and individual participants.
“Quest has been working with carers for as long as Quest has been around, so we’re well versed in the challenges that carers face. We cater to the unique needs carers have. We meet people where they are. For carers, that’s often in terms of how tired or strung out or overwhelmed they are, how overburdened they can feel.
Tailoring Carer Workshops for Individual Carers and Carer Groups
“The carer space is so unique in that carers don’t normally get much time for themselves, so when they finally do get the opportunity, we want to empower them to guide their own self-care. We want to be as guided by them as we can while still helping them to implement strategies and education that they can later use to feel more resilient in the challenges they face.”
Candice said one modification commonly made is to shorten program durations to better suit the busy lives of the participants, who can often find it extremely difficult to spare a week away from the people they support.
“A week away is almost insurmountable for a lot of carers. It’s a long time to be away from the person you’re caring for, so we find shorter programs of three days often work a bit better.
“We can tailor programs to whatever the needs of the group are, for example, in terms of duration, whether they include overnight stays or not, whether they’re onsite or offsite in a location accessible to a carer group. We make sure each program best suits the needs of the individual carers looking for respite and nourishment.”
Previous carer workshops have also included interpreters for culturally and linguistically diverse groups of participants.
From the outset, Quest teams work to ensure every person who attends a carers retreat is catered to on an individual level and that each participant benefits from respite, skills and education to create resilience and peace when facing the challenges that inevitably arise within their daily lives.
“The carers we support might be parents of children with very high or special needs, they might be someone caring for their mum, or someone caring for their spouse, they’re all really difficult emotional landscapes that they’re navigating.
“Carers have to do so much advocacy – it’s a really big role – and lots of people who are carers still have to work as well as taking on these enormous roles that nobody else in the community could fill. So we try to be as responsive to people as we can when they spend time with us.”
Candice described the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon NSW as an environment well-suited to carers retreats due to being such a relaxing and safe place.
“It’s really quite a beautiful place, I’m very grateful to work where I do.”
CEO and Founder of the Quest for Life Foundation, Petrea King said Quest has been hosting carers for many years on either one-day, two-day, or three-day programs.
“We love hosting carers because we know they will leave feeling replenished, rested and cared for. Caring is more than full-time – as Candice said, it’s an enormous role. We’re just happy we can send carers back to their homes with some tools and strategies to help them nourish and sustain themselves through the busyness of their lives,” Petrea says.
Caring for carers during National Carers Week
In October 2022, Quest is hosting a tailormade Caring for the Carer program for a group of approximately 20 carers from around Australia on behalf of Wellways, one of Australia’s largest and most respected mental health, wellbeing and carer service providers.
The 3-day carers workshop will take place during National Carers Week from October 16-22, with a celebration morning tea planned to mark the special occasion. Quest’s talented chefs Leanne and Carol will bake a delicious Carers Week cake from scratch to treat the guests, who – due to their tireless devotion to those that they care for – don’t often get many chances to treat themselves.
“The feedback from the carers who have attended the Caring for the Carer workshops have been overwhelmingly positive and we can see substantial improvement to carer wellbeing after the events,” says Wellways National Contact Centre Operations Manager Liz Gardiner.
“I encourage any organisation looking to partner with Quest for Life to do so. The expertise and therapeutic knowledge results in quality outcomes for all those who participate.– Wellways National Contact Centre Operations Manager Liz Gardiner
“Providing carers with the time and space away from their caring role to engage with therapeutic supports is key to ensuring that the caring role is not only sustainable, but ensuring carers can start their own recovery journey whilst actively supporting their loved ones. We know that the caring role is one of the most challenging experiences and it’s essential that carers are supported early on in their caring journey, as we know that carers typically do not put their own needs first, often leaving it until crisis point before reaching out for help.”
Testimonials from previous carer workshop participants
Quest’s tailormade Caring for the Carer workshops have received strong feedback from carers who have participated in the programs.
The program was excellent, it covered everything we experience as carers. We were made very welcome, and all treated as equals.– Kathleen
I was in a bad headspace when arrived on Saturday and Sunday when we left, I felt like a new person, it was such a great group of people.– Kylie
Generally excellent. Thank you, would love to do more.– Elen
This was relaxing, informative, covered relevant issues for me and I left feeling me energised and ready to take on the world.– Janelle
Wonderful place and people, very supportive.– Lily
Tailormade Carer Workshops Enquiries:
Please contact Candice and our programs team to enquire about tailormade carer workshops for your organisation or carers group.
Phone: 1300 941 488