Walk for Wellbeing, 2-16 May 2016: Meet the carers!

The Carers NZ Walk for Wellbeing: Porto in Portugal to Santiago, Spain, then on to Cape Finisterre ... The End of the World 

Join our group of family carers for 30 minutes of time out each day from 2 - 16 May!


Hello, I'm Jan.

In 2010 my daughter Grace and I shifted to Cambridge from Opua, Bay of Islands to be nearer to Mum (then 85).

It enabled me to keep a closer eye on her, although she’d been on her own for the past 20 years, living in her own home and managing well.

We missed Opua, our friends, and the lifestyle, but Cambridge became our home for the next six years.

I got an OT (Occupational Therapy) position in Hamilton, where I still work today with clients who have cognitive impairment.

Mum managed well on her own for the next five years with backup support from me, up until about the end of 2014.

At that time Grace left home to study Law at Victoria University and I decided it was easier and safer to move in with Mum to keep a closer eye on her, as she had developed the early stages of dementia (although she was still fine being on her own during the day). Planning and organisational tasks had become a challenge, so I was pleased to be closer at hand to support her.

During 2015 things shifted to a whole new level when, at 91, she suddenly developed pancreatic cancer. Mum deteriorated very quickly, but we managed to care for her at home until the end, October 2015. I treasure those last couple of months; they were exhausting, as I also continued to work part­-time, but I felt it was a privilege to be so closely part of Mum’s final journey.

Since I’m now freer, I‘m in a position to join Carers NZ's Walk for Wellbeing, and share this spiritual journey with other carers.

I’ve wanted to do a ‘Camino pilgrimage’ for some time, for different reasons.

Now it’s partly for me, letting go and moving on with my life, from Mum’s house, and from living in Cambridge, and being able to focus on my future ... but it will also be about acknowledging Mum and celebrating the beautiful person she was.”

PS: The photo is of Mum (90) and I, Christmas 2014. Little did we know it would be our last Christmas together. 

Help us care for New Zealand's carers and support the Walk for Wellbeing:

Follow our progress: